Northern Ireland's first community-owned farm set for launch

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The view from the farmhouse over Larne Lough
Image caption,
The view from the farmhouse over Larne Lough

More than 100 people have bought shares in Northern Ireland's first community-owned farm.

Between them they raised £280,000 in six months. Individual amounts ranged from £50 to one large investment of £50,000.

The house and 13 acres of land are near Glynn, outside Larne in County Antrim.

The owners intend to sell the farm produce, including vegetables, pigs and poultry.

Image caption,
Jubilee Farm near Larne, Co Antrim

They will be paid to offer training and volunteering opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees.

They also hope to attract conservation grants for environmental work on their land and run educational trips.

The plan was devised by an interdenominational Christian group.

Image caption,
The farm will also offer volunteering place for asylum seekers and refugees

Jonny Hanson has moved his family into the property and said he hopes to have produce for sale by the summer.

Shareholders will get a small reduction on the produce price and their name on a tree planted to mark their involvement.

However, managing the land for community use, food production and wildlife conservation brought more of a "sense of satisfaction" than any financial investment, said Jonny.

Each shareholder has equal voting rights no matter the size of their investment.

Image caption,
Jubilee Farm hopes to be in production by the summer

Jonny also said he hopes to reconnect people with the process of food production.

They'll run a pig club where people will buy a quarter of the animal and visit to see the work involved in bringing the animal to slaughter weight.

"We don't sell pork, we sell a quarter pig," he said.

The farm hopes to have its veg-box service operational by June.