Community Farming: A Catalyst for Change

Community Farming: A Catalyst for Change
The advantages and challenges of this model of farming by interacting with new community farms from Northern Ireland.


11:00AM – 1:00PM

Room 02/018, Peter Froggatt Centre, QUB, University Road


A community farm is a place where people come together to grow and harvest crops, raise animals, and learn about sustainable agriculture. It is a space where people can connect with nature, learn new skills, and build a sense of community. Community farms are often run by volunteers, but not exclusively, and are open to the public. They provide fresh, locally grown produce to the community and promote healthy eating habits. They also offer educational programs, workshops, and events that teach people about the importance of sustainable agriculture and the benefits of eating locally grown food. Community farms are a great way to get involved in your local community and make a positive impact on the environment.

The first ever accelerator programme for community farms in Northern Ireland has just ended. The programme, called ‘Cultivating Community Farming’ provided support and resources to help community farms grow and thrive. It was designed to help community farms become more sustainable, increase their impact, and reach more people in their local communities. The two-year programme was funded by Co-op Foundation and delivered by a partnership between Co-operative Alternatives and Jubilee Farm with the support of Dr. Jonny Hanson.

The accelerator programme gave birth to a new social actor: the Community Farmer, a multi-skilled and driven activist that through co-operation and community involvement explores a variety of sustainable practices on local land.

The journey to become a community farm is not an easy one but it can be transformative. The audience will hear the story of Jubilee Farm with other new community farms from the region. Co-operative Alternatives will share the impacts of the support provided during the Cultivating Community Farming programme. The discussion panel will be open for questions.

Jubilee Farm was the first community-owned farm in Northern Ireland. They practice and promote care farming, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and conservation education and engagement with people of all backgrounds and beliefs. They offer volunteer opportunities and work with refugees and asylum seekers. More information at

Co-operative Alternatives is a co-operative development body dedicated to the setting up of co-operatives and community benefit societies. They offer specialized support to emerging and existing co-operatives. Co-operatives are member-owned and democratically controlled enterprises. Co-op Alternatives aims to develop and support a strong co-operative movement connected across the island of Ireland and doing business in a fair, just and ethical way. More information on

Dr. Jonny Hanson has co-delivered the Cultivating Community Farming programme since inception in 2022. Jonny is also a 2023 Nuffield Farming Scholar, a programme of study and travel for future farming leaders about the future of farming. Jonny is a founder member of Jubilee Farm that he managed and run from 2014 to 2022.

Co-op Foundation is the Charity of the Co-op Group and they supported the two year Cultivating Community Farming programme from 2022 to 2024.

Includes lunch!

NB. Please note change of venue.


We’ll be in touch.