What does inclusive farming look like?

New research highlights the barriers and challenges people of colour face in British farming and land work

2nd February 2023

This week, a new report from the Jumping Fences project highlights the barriers and challenges Black and People of Colour (BPOC) face in British farming and land-based sectors.

Led by Land in Our Names, the Ecological Land Cooperative and the Landworkers’ Alliance, Jumping Fences is collaborative research project designed to better understand the experiences of BPOC in our sector – both for individuals and businesses already working in food and land, and for potential new entrants.

The evidence-based report found that all BPOC participants felt isolated within the land work sector, with many experiencing structural racialisation, for example being perceived as less competent, or being tokenised. Issues also arose for many participants based on pervasive societal narratives around who farming is for and what it looks like.

Lead researcher Naomi Terry said, “In the process of carrying out this research, and meeting BPOC farmers around the country, I came across a real range of experiences and perspectives on farming cultures and rural Britain.”

“Some people are experiencing overt and aggressive racism, for example in a local pub, on work exchange farms, or at agricultural university. Many people experience the cumulative effects of microaggressions throughout their lives, and the impacts of working in isolation from their communities and culture of heritage.”

Key recommendations to address these barriers and challenges included shifting narratives around who farming is for, changing the workplace culture on farms and in farming organisations, and developing better systems of support for BPOC farmers.

Naomi adds “there is clearly a need for more financial support, access to land and new entrant opportunities for people from racialised backgrounds in farming, but this alone will not address deeply entrenched structural inequalities.”

“We need to take actions that will encourage a shift in the narratives around who farming is for, and what it can look like.”