A Larne-based community farm project has reaped double success at the annual Social Enterprise NI gala awards in Belfast.
Jubilee Community Benefit Society won the One to Watch category for a new social enterprise that has been trading for up to two years. It now goes forward to the UK awards in London in December.
And Dr Jonny Hanson, managing director and co-founder of Jubilee, received the inaugural Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year award at the ceremony, held in association with Sparq AV, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
A frequent writer, speaker and broadcaster on environmental and agricultural topics, Jonny is also an Associate of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, a Trustee of the Nyika-Vwaza Trust, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Jubilee is a Christian environmental and agricultural organisation established in 2017 to practice and promote care farming, community-supported agriculture, and conservation education and engagement.
In 2018/19 it raised over £300,000 to purchase and equip Jubilee Farm, believed to be the first community-owned farm in Northern Ireland.
As well as producing food, the farm sees its 13.5 acres of fields, woodland and river frontage at Glynn as the perfect setting for families, churches, schools and other groups to reconnect with food, farming and nature.
Commenting on the success, Jonny said: “These awards are testament to the hard work and dedication of many people over many years.
“We thank our board, staff, interns, volunteers, member-owners, customers and our local community for supporting us, as well as the organisations who have provided financial and technical support through our all-important start-up phase.
“We look forward to growing Jubilee Farm as a shining example of community, cooperative and social enterprise in East Antrim, and beyond.”
Meanwhile, Jubilee Farm has launched its Pig Poetry Competition with open, primary school and secondary school categories. Full details are available at www.jubilee.coop/pigpoetry
Jonny commented: “This being the Year of the Pig, the competition is a novel way for individuals and schools to celebrate pigs in general and the free range pigs of Jubilee Farm in particular.”