Young City Farmers 2009

I am really proud to have started The Black Farmer Rural Scholarship. When I was young I was fortunate to have been given breaks by people who believed in me. I wanted to give something back.

I launched The Black Farmer Rural Scholarship back in 2005. In that year I invited a group of youngsters from inner cities to my farm for six weeks to live and work in the rural environment.

That year the Scholarship was filmed by Channel 4 and the much repeated Young Black Farmers series was very well received. The scheme was hard work for all involved, but everyone faced the challenges presented with courage and really benefited from the experience.

The experience certainly convinced me that more schemes of this nature are needed to help youngsters get a taste of a different life. You never know, it might prove to be a turning point.

My passion for encouraging city youngsters to experience the countryside continues unabated. I know from the positive effect these schemes have on their participants that we must do more to encourage this type of initiative.

I now work with the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester to run an annual ‘Young City Farmers’ scheme and I would love to enlist similar support from all agricultural colleges in the UK so that we can make a real impact on promoting the countryside to young people.

The Royal Agricultural College is again working with me to offer a wonderful opportunity for twelve youngsters from UK cities, who are interested in food, farming and rural occupations, to experience countryside living and working at its best.

This year, the scheme not only gives participants practical experience of land-based work, but incorporates the theme of ‘Field to Plate’, where participants will also learn how to prepare and cook food, and of course taste it.

If you know someone who might benefit from this experience, they can apply here.