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Solar-power buggy drives kitchen garden forward

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

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Organisers of a community kitchen garden have found an innovative and green way of transporting its produce – using an electric buggy powered by light.

Thanks to more than £14,000 funding from the ScottishPower Green Energy Trust, Highfield Farm Community Kitchen in Topsham, near Exeter, was able to install solar panels on the roof of its barn. The energy generated is then mostly used to power the electric buggy. In the past year the solar panels have powered the buggy to travel more than 1,200km around the farm and local community.

The buggy is also used to transport the fresh produce to the local school, where parents and community members can buy the fruit and vegetables. All proceeds are then reinvested in the kitchen garden.

The solar panels will also supply electricity and heating to the new outdoor 'classroom' when complete, which will allow the children both to learn about, and experience directly, many renewable techniques including the Biomass heating system.

The kitchen garden, now self-sufficient in energy production, is a collaborative project between Highfield Farm and Topsham Primary School, aiming to educate the pupils about renewable energy sources and systems.

Children from the school visit the garden each week to help with weeding, sowing seeds and harvesting fruit and vegetables. Pupils from Clyst Heath Primary and Southbrook School for children with special needs are also regular visitors.

Alison McKean, senior environmental and social policy manager at ScottishPower, said it was very rewarding for the trust to fund the project which was not only a key educational source for the local schools, but also inspired and promoted sustainable energy in the community.

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