£300k community farm ‘first’ for Larne

Rev. Ruth Turner of Millbrook Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Jonny Hanson of Jubilee Farm, Rev. Colin McClure of First Larne Presbyterian, Rev. Chris Skillin of Larne Methodist Church get to work.
Rev. Ruth Turner of Millbrook Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Jonny Hanson of Jubilee Farm, Rev. Colin McClure of First Larne Presbyterian, Rev. Chris Skillin of Larne Methodist Church get to work.

Northern Ireland’s “first community farm” will be established in Larne on a 13.5 acre site in Glynn at a cost of £300,000.

A farmhouse has already been purchased at Glenburn Road at a cost of £163,000 and a further £135,000 is needed to bring the ambitious plan for Jubilee Farm to fruition.

To raise the necessary funds, a community share offer will be launched on Saturday October 20 to buy land, polytunnels and equipment to get the ambitious project up and running before Christmas.

Jubilee, a Christian creation care organisation, has been operating on a temporary basis at Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre, at Glenarm Road, since January.

Managing director Dr. Jonny Hanson said: “Becoming a member of Jubilee Farm is the perfect opportunity for individuals, families, schools, churches, and community groups to come together and invest in a community enterprise that works for the benefit of everyone.

“This will involve households purchasing a subscription to the farm and also contributing a small amount of labour each month. In this way, we hope to develop the first community-supported agriculture scheme in Northern Ireland.”

At a ‘Bioblitz Festival of Science and Nature’ in June, Jubilee Farm welcomed 400 visitors. Almost 100 primary school-age children have attended a curriculum-based nature education classes,

Through community agriculture activities, Jubilee aims to provide “good, affordable food in the form of free range pork, seasonal ecological produced under organic principles, vegetables and free range eggs from spring 2019”.

Jubilee is also planning an internship programme and ‘glamping’ in due course.