Why Tawonga Loves Pigs!

Here at Camp, we’re always looking for ways to be more sustainable. Part of our Mission focuses on Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, so throughout the session we try to implement programming for the kids that intentionally tackle how we can positively interact with the natural world around us. One way we do this is by utilizing pigs in our Camp Farm. We’ve been hosting pigs to live on The Farm for the last few summers. The pigs contribute to decreasing our environmental impact mainly by eating our food waste, a cool form of composting. The kids, of course, love visiting The Farm to meet the pigs and hang out with them.
Linda Jerviss from Sisters Heritage Farm in Placerville has generously allowed us to host three of her five month old Kune Kune pigs at Tawonga this summer. When Linda dropped them off during Spring Family camp our Farm & Garden Coordinator Leora Cockrell sat down and talked about the wonders of these little creatures.
What is special about the KuneKune breed to you?
I love the Kune Kune breed because they are an all around great pig – gentle, docile pets, good for meat and great for keeping the weeds down. Kune Kunes are smart, funny and safe around kids. Kunes can learn to sit, wait for a treat, play the piano and do tricks with a ball. They are wonderful companions and are safe around children and elders alike. Pigs are the 3rd or 4th smartest animal on the planet.
How do Kunes tend to relate with children?
Well, I let my 5 year old grandson be in the pen with the sows while they are giving birth and hold the newborns and probably no other breed of pig would be as gentle and relaxed about having humans so close during that time. Interacting with Kunes are a great way for children to learn compassion and care for others.
What lessons can the story of the Kunes teach children?
The story of the Kune Kune pigs is a fantastic way to teach children about the power they can have to change something for the better. About 50 years ago, purebred Kune Kune pigs were almost exinct in their homeland of New Zealand. Two men believed that it would be too great a loss to the world to lose these endearing pigs so they started a breeding program and today this breed in not in threat of going extinct. It just took two people following their passion to change the course for an entire breed!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
This summer we used the Kune Kunes in a Camp-wide activity. During session II we had an All-Camp “Name the Pigs Program” in which cabins and departments all submitted names for the two unnamed pigs (the smallest pig is already named Minnie). It was a tough decision going through all of our submissions but we narrowed it down to two finalists: Fidget (short for Fidgetspinner) and Persephone. See below some pictures of the pigs as well as others from today. Enjoy! ​