design food

What a real toy farm looks like

A couple of weeks ago Zach and I built a farm out of his Duplo bricks. It’s a cosy, family affair, the Duplo farm – more of a hobby smallholding than a serious business enterprise. Toy farms don’t represent the real world very well, it’s fair to say. (Neither do toy trains, which are almost always steam trains, for some reason)

So what would it look like if you made a toy farm that actually reflected modern agriculture? That’s what subversive Dutch toymaker/artist Tomm Velthuis has done with his 21st century pig farm. Designed for an exhibition on meat eating, it comes “complete with 200 pigs, the enormous amounts of food required to fatten them up, the trees that must be cleared for feed crops, and the acid rain caused by the pigs’ manure.”



Tomm’s website also sells organic and standard pigs, and a piglet playset that comes with clippers for chopping off their tails. Ouch.


  1. Toy trains are often steam trains because they have more soul. Not forgetting the wonderful contribution of Rev W Awdry via Britt Allcroft. Against that Chuggington is mostly diesels and electrics and Underground Ernie is totally electric.

    Hornby and Bachmann make a large range of diesels and some electric trains. Just in people’s imaginations steam trains are better.

    It is a very dull world where you make toys that solely reflect the adult world.

    1. I don’t feel any great need for realism in anyone’s imaginary worlds, truth be told – though I do wish the trains in Chuggington wouldn’t hop about on their rails.

  2. Reblogged this on Ignite Your Senses and commented:
    It’s amazing how making things real for people can increase the impact of the message you are communicating. It is a cross between art and real life, something you can interact with, touch and feel.

    I also love that people will create art about life to change perspectives and create change.

    1. It’s particularly powerful when you see photos of this particular artwork/toy in the exhibition, as it’s presented on a playtable so that it can actually be played with.

      1. Especially when you look at the full photo deck and see all the little packets of different animals and things – it really takes something with personality and makes it a consumer product.

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