Are YOU the New Face of Farming?

August 2022

Image for press release

The Black Farmer and Writtle University College (WUC) are on a crusade to stop the drought in diversity within the food, farming and agricultural industries.

Today they begin a nationwide search to find the future faces of farming. The search is going to take place outside of traditional farming circles to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to consider farming as a career.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, aka The Black Farmer, explains: "As a young boy living in inner city Birmingham and with an interest in farming, it was impossible to find the opportunity to develop this interest. Fifty years on nothing has changed. Many young people interested in food, farming and agriculture do not know where to go to explore and develop their interest. This scheme is the first step in bringing about much needed change."

Wilfred, who was awarded an MBE for Services to Farming in 2020, adds: "It is my mission to encourage more youth and diversity into farming and agriculture, so to be able to work with Writtle University College on these initiatives is tremendously exciting."

At the age of 40, Wilfred fulfilled a life-long dream when he purchased a small farm on the Devon/Cornwall border, the inspiration for his The Black Farmer brand. His brand tagline "without frontiers" encapsulates his drive to ensure more people have the chance to live and work in rural areas. 

The all-expenses paid residential weekend will be held at the University College's countryside campus on 31st March to 2nd April and will offer teenagers, aged 16-18, a taste of farm life.

In 2020, agriculture had a total income of over £4 billion in the UK alone. Yet, it's known as one of the country's least diverse industries. Sky News reported that, excluding seasonal workers, more than 97% of people employed in agriculture, forestry and fisheries are white. 

'New Faces For Farming' will offer young people from a wide range of backgrounds an opportunity to learn about careers in this exciting sector. Participants will visit WUC's working farm and experience a weekend of socialising and life on a university campus. 

Writtle University College's Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton said: "We are pleased to be working closely with Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones to launch this important initiative. Agriculture should be a sector that welcomes everyone and our residential weekend marks the first of a series of measures aimed at widening access to this rewarding industry."

Click here to learn more about this exciting new initiative.