Farm to business collaboration benefits Carrickfergus community

Jubilee Farm, a leading social farm located less than 10 miles from Carrickfergus and a FoodNI member, has entered into a partnership with Carrick Greengrocers to deliver the freshest seasonal produce from the farm to the heart of the historic Co Antrim town.

This collaboration significantly reduces food miles and ensures that customers enjoy the freshest vegetables, picked and delivered in some cases on the same day. This rapid turnaround from field to fork reduces the need for long-distance transportation, which not only benefits the environment but also guarantees fresher and longer lasting produce for consumers.

Carrick Greengrocers opened in July 2023 and it is a community-owned greengrocer established by people who live in, or are passionate about Carrickfergus. Its ethos is to enrich the lives of people in Carrickfergus through nutrient-rich, locally sourced and in season food.

This common goal is how the partnership with Jubilee was born, as the farm also supports growing climate friendly and locally sourced food. By supplying vegetable boxes grown directly on the farm in its on-site polytunnel, Jubilee specialises in seasonal produce, offering a wide variety that reflects the changing seasons.

“Having Jubilee Farm as one of our local suppliers means our customers get to enjoy the freshest vegetables, harvested at the peak of ripeness,” says Beth Bell, secretary of Carrick Greengrocers. “We are able to purchase the produce, and the volunteers and team at Jubilee Farm are able to grow and harvest it – it’s a win-win for everyone – our customers, the local economy, and the environment,” adds Beth.

Carrick Greengrocers also works with market farmer Chris Dobbs and he supplies seasonal vegetables and also fruit grown in a 3-mile radius. Chris’s produce is often delivered within hours of being harvested, and with Chris doing deliveries himself, customers in the greengrocers can feel the close connection between farmer and community.

“Customers comment on the quality and freshness of Chris’ produce, for example the peas in the pod are bursting with flavour and taste like the ones they used to have when they were younger. The fact they are grown so close to us with no chemicals vastly improves the quality, taste and freshness,” continues Beth.

Carrick Greengrocers, a popular addition to Carrickfergus’s town centre, provides a convenient option for customers who want to purchase good quality, reasonably priced fruit and vegetables, without having to buy large quantities. “It’s easy for people to pop in after school or work and grab one or two carrots, potatoes or apples, rather than a whole bag,” explains Beth “We’re committed to making great, local fresh produce accessible to everyone in the community and making it easy to buy what they need.”

Jubilee Farm is not only committed to supplying fresh produce to Carrick Greengrocers, but also to engaging with the local community.

As Northern Ireland’s first community owned farm, Jubilee supports various community initiatives, one of which is Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend. This is a free to attend initiative run by the Ulster Farmers’ Union that gives consumers a better understanding of where their food comes from. During the weekend, the public can meet the farmer, hear about their journey and see what makes their farm individual.

The scheme aims, in particular, to promote a greater engagement between pupils and schools and the local farming community and its crucial role in developing fresh food for Northern Ireland consumers. Many of the children taking part may be encouraged eventually to pursue careers in farming and food production. Our single most important industry, agri-food provides a diverse range of career opportunities in areas such as manufacturing, technology, marketing and sales.

Food from local farms, as last week’s Food NI Food Pavilion at Balmoral Show demonstrated, is also used by hundreds of companies here to create and produce highly innovative products for local and international consumption. Jubilee Farm is also a member of the Food NI network of local companies.

Based at Glynn, near Carrickfergus, the farm, owned by the community shareholders, covers over 13 acres from which it sells boxes of heritage vegetables and free range pork especially through a novel Pig Club. The club enables people to buy a section of the pig to enjoy at Christmas.

The farm was started by Jonny Hanson, who has a farming background and has also been named ‘Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ in recognition of his inspirational leadership.

Jubilee Farm will be open to pre-registered school children on Friday 14 June and to the public on Saturday 15 June from 12-4pm and will showcase a range of activities such as seed planting, farm tours, and a pork risotto cookery demo by chef Sophie Smith at 1pm. Carrick Greengrocers will also be at Jubilee Farm on this day to showcase its produce. More information on all 18 participating farms in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend can be found at