Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Diversity, inclusion & polarisation

Examination Schools, Oxford, OX1 4BG

10:30am 7th January 2020

The opening event of the Oxford Farming Conference 2020: Diversity, inclusion and combating polarisation – the key to a flourishing rural economy, started a conversation about how farming and rural careers can become more inclusive, engage everyone in society, and attract new entrants who don’t necessarily fit the traditional rural stereotypes.

Recent reports have found significant gender inequality in the farming sector and that barriers are still faced by many in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as issues around ethnicity in the countryside. It is vital to create a dialogue that will make rural careers and communities more accessible to all.

We heard from people who have experienced exclusion by virtue of gender, ethnicity, age and sexuality, but also those who have come to feel excluded through the way the public discourse has changed. We reflected on what drives experiences of inclusion and polarisation in the countryside and in farming, and – most importantly – what we might do about it.