19 Aug The Black Farmer Calling For Ethnic Diversity In Rural Settings
“It’s up to us, people of colour, to claim our right to be there, rather than be invited.”
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, 63, one of the UK’s only commercial black farmers, has been awarded an MBE for services to British farming in the Queen’s Honours List. He said he would continue to take action to address the “woeful lack of ethnic diversity in farming”.
After emigrating from Jamaica to Britain with the Windrush Generation, Wilfred made it his mission to move to the countryside and run his own farm. He was always “looking over his shoulder” growing up in Birmingham, and revealed that he experiences less racism in the countryside than he did growing up in urban areas.
“When we talk about diversity, it tends to be focused on urban spaces, but what about black people in rural settings? There is this massive assumption that rural Britain is racist or prejudiced.” Wilfred wants to bridge a gap between rural and urban Britain and to show people that the countryside can be as diverse as it wants to be. “It’s up to us, people of colour, to claim our right to be there, rather than be invited.”
“Your soul, your spirit is free when all you have to do is admire the countryside and nature, rather than in an urban setting, where if you look at someone the wrong way you could get a knife in your back,” said Wilfred who aspires to see more people of colour in agriculture and rural spaces become more accessible to all.
Now as the founder of The Black Farmer brand, Wilfred has worked tirelessly to get supermarkets across the nation to support his latest venture and to amplify black voices within the food industry.
“In a sense, by having The Black Farmer, it gives people permission to use that word,” he says. “I want the brand to make people feel comfortable using that word and to see that it’s a British brand. Everything about the brand celebrates my black Britishness, not my ethnic blackness. The products are quintessentially British.”