The Black Farmer launches ‘new face of farming’ initiative

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is hoping to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into the agriculture industry

South West farming entrepreneur Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones has launched an initiative to encourage more young people from diverse backgrounds to get involved in the food and agriculture industry.

Mr Emmanuel-Jones, who is behind the award-winning Black Farmer food range, is working with Writtle Agricultural College in Essex to find the “new face of farming”.

Applications are open to young people between the ages of 16 and 18 from anywhere in the UK. A total of 20 individuals will be selected to go on an all-expenses paid weekend to Writtle College to get a taste of living and working in agricultural Britain. The applicants do not need any experience or background in farming – just a desire to find out more.

“Farming is one of my passions, and, as the only black farmer in the UK I want to bring about change,” said Mr Emmanuel Jones, who was awarded an MBE for services to farming in 2019.

“I want to see young people from all backgrounds getting into farming, food and agriculture and enjoying a rich and interesting career. So I am now on a crusade to find the new faces of farming, and, together with Writtle University College, we have begun a nationwide search.”

The residential weekend is taking place between 7 and 9 October – at the start of Black History Month – at Writtle’s countryside campus.

“After this weekend we are hoping that people will take up the opportunity to apply for courses in food and farming,” added Mr Emmanuel-Jones.

“As a young black boy brought up in an inner city and with an interest in farming, I know from personal experience how difficult it was to develop that interest.”

The 63-year-old, who lives near Launceston in Cornwall and farms in Devon, said he would also be publishing a review on the progress that has been made in the food and farming industry since the murder of George Floyd in the US in 2020.

Earlier this month, Mr Emmanuel-Jones took to the stage as a keynote speaker at the UK Black Business Entrepreneurs Conference 2022. He discussed “building an empire and access to market” at the event, which took place on Thursday, July 14, at the NatWest Conference Centre in London.

The event followed the publication of The Black Entrepreneurs Report 2021, which provides an insight into black entrepreneurship within the UK.