Volunteers are being sought to help transform an overgrown walled garden in County Antrim into a thriving horticultural and environmental centre that will supply fresh vegetables to the local community.
Jubilee Community Benefit Society in Larne is holding its first volunteer day at Jubilee Farm on Saturday, January 27, from 1-5pm. and it is the first of a series of volunteer events on the fourth Saturday of every month to prepare the ground for vegetable production later in the year.
Jonny Hanson of Jubilee Farm said that the site had been a garden centre for the past 30 years.
He said: “We are hoping to have a horticulturalist starting in June so that we can begin growing vegetables. Hopefully by September Jubilee Farm subscribers will get a share of the produce.”
Jubilee Community Benefit Society, which is an inter-denominational Christian creation care organisation, was set up as a community co-operative last year with the help of Co-operative Alternatives through the Hive Project, a UK-wide support programme for co-ops and community businesses.
The co-operative will also run a ‘pop-up’ cafe from 1pm to 5pm on the premises, which offers a range of fair trade hot drinks and snacks. Volunteer work begins at 2pm and they will be holding a short dedication service at 1pm.
More activities will happen at Jubilee Farm in the course of 2018. The farm’s goats and pigs are arriving in early February to also help clear the site. Twenty households have already invested in the Pig Club by paying a monthly subscription, with each receiving a quarter of a pig by the summer.
The meat will also be used in the Hog Roast, part of the group’s official launch celebrations on June 22-23 including live music, a range of walks and talks and other fun events. The event will also include a ‘Bio Blitz’ – a biodiversity survey of the original estate which includes the walled garden, the Drumalis retreat centre, and Larne Town Park.
Jonny added: “Jubilee is as much about cultivating community as it is about cultivating vegetables. Everybody loves old walled gardens and this is a chance to give it a new lease of life, while practicing environmental and agricultural stewardship, and building relationships among the community.”
By the end of 2018, Jubilee Community Benefit Society intends to launch a community share offer to call for public support and investment in this very interesting community and environmental initiative.
For more information go to: http://www.jubilee.coop/volunteer/