New co-op farm offers community supported agriculture (CSA) scheme

A brand new co-operative farm is being set up in Larne in the beautiful walled garden at Drumalis with the aim of providing “good food for all forever”.

Founded by an inter-denominational group of Christians, Jubilee Farm will partner with people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Co-operative Alternatives supported Jubilee Farm through the Hive project to set up as a Community Benefit Society, which will offer Northern Ireland’s first co-operative community-supported agricultural scheme.

“As an inter-denominational group, we’re setting up Jubilee Farm because we want to show that Christians can and should care for the environment.  Not only that, but we want to ground this conviction in a particular place and to serve a particular community, including those with different backgrounds and beliefs.  Ultimately, we’re setting up Jubilee Farm because we have hope for this wonderful world,” explained Jonny Hanson of Jubilee Farm.

He added that they chose the co-operative model as the fairest way to set up the enterprise: “We like the ethos of co-operation and therefore allowing interested people to have a say in how the organisation is run, and in raising capital, via a community share offer at a late date.”

The new co-op aims to provide good, affordable seasonal food to members and non- members, and selling surplus produce and Fairtrade food, hot drinks and products via the farm shop on the premises.

They are still in the early stages of development and plan to launch in the winter but they are holding their first fundraising event on September 9th from 4-6pm with a BBQ, live music plus tours of the walled garden. Those wishing to attend must register for BBQ tickets at

At the BBQ, people can also register for the Pig Club, which is hoped to start in January. With this, local people invest in a pig and pay a monthly subscription and at the end of the day, they get a quarter pig to put in the freezer.

“This will be one of the first few examples of CSA in Northern Ireland where farmers and consumers share the risks, the responsibility and the rewards of farming,” explained Tiziana O’Hara of Co-operative Alternatives.

In addition to the agriculture scheme, Jubilee Farm also aims to provide practical, positive, and therapeutic opportunities related to food production for vulnerable individuals and groups in the local area, particularly adults with special needs, by selling care farming services four mornings per week.

They will also offer conservation education and engagement providing agricultural and environmental learning sessions, for individuals, families, schools, churches and community groups.

Co-operative Alternatives can offer support and advice to groups like Jubilee Farm hoping to set up as a co-op. The Hive is a UK-wide cross-sectoral programme of support for co-ops and community businesses. From renewables to retail, sports to social care, The Hive can support your organisation with online advice and direct support, including one-to-one advice, group advice, peer mentoring and skills training.

For further information on co-operative development contact Tiziana O’Hara at