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Get To Know Me: My Journey To Becoming The Black Farmer

Hello everyone,

As part of a new series, I want to help you get to know me, from my early origins, to my love of farming, and my health journey — as well as all of my hopes and dreams.

Here, I’ll start with what brought me and my family to Britain, arriving as part of the Windrush generation shortly after Jamaica was granted independence in 1962. With post-war labour shortages providing better opportunities for families like mine, my parents came first, and sent for us later once they were settled and had found a home.

My childhood was spent growing up in Birmingham living in complete poverty. It was a strange time in a foreign land and my only reminder of home was the delicious Jamaican food that my mother lovingly cooked. I can remember her having to feed 11 people on just one chicken — even to this day I love chicken bones and try and get every bit of nutrition out of them!

Here, I’ll start with what brought me and my family to Britain, arriving as part of the Windrush generation shortly after Jamaica was granted independence in 1962. With post-war labour shortages providing better opportunities for families like mine, my parents came first, and sent for us later once they were settled and had found a home.

My childhood was spent growing up in Birmingham living in complete poverty. It was a strange time in a foreign land and my only reminder of home was the delicious Jamaican food that my mother lovingly cooked. I can remember her having to feed 11 people on just one chicken — even to this day I love chicken bones and try and get every bit of nutrition out of them!

Years later, I finally realised my dream, finding a farm on the Devon-Cornwall borders. My neighbours quickly coined the name ‘The Black Farmer’, which led to me launching my own brand, offering quality British products across food, drink and lifestyle.

As the eldest of nine, it was my job to help dad on the allotment, where he grew vegetables to supplement food for the family. It was here, away from our crowded two-up, two-down terraced house, I made a promise to myself as an 11-year-old boy that one day I would have my very own farm.

Years later, I finally realised my dream, finding a farm on the Devon-Cornwall borders. My neighbours quickly coined the name ‘The Black Farmer’, which led to me launching my own brand, offering quality British products across food, drink and lifestyle.

As the eldest of nine, it was my job to help dad on the allotment, where he grew vegetables to supplement food for the family. It was here, away from our crowded two-up, two-down terraced house, I made a promise to myself as an 11-year-old boy that one day I would have my very own farm.

It’s appalling that 16 years since I started my farm there are no other commercial black farmers. Something needs to be done about that. It is our responsibility to bring in people from more diverse backgrounds. Which is why I’ve teamed up with Writtle University College in Chelmsford on the exciting New Faces of Farming initiative. The aim is to open the door to an agricultural career for those who aren’t from a traditional farming background and fix the diversity drought in the industry. Find out more here.

For the first time in my life, I finally feel at home — like I belong here — and now in my mid-60s I consider myself to be British-Jamaican after a long process of becoming neutralised. Sadly, I believe that a lot of people from urban Britain do not feel at home where they are — that they want to be in a rural environment like mine — and I hope that those people have exactly the same opportunities as I have had. That the south-west couple be a place that they could one day call home.

It’s appalling that 16 years since I started my farm there are no other commercial black farmers. Something needs to be done about that. It is our responsibility to bring in people from more diverse backgrounds. Which is why I’ve teamed up with Writtle University College in Chelmsford on the exciting New Faces of Farming initiative. The aim is to open the door to an agricultural career for those who aren’t from a traditional farming background and fix the diversity drought in the industry. Find out more here.

For the first time in my life, I finally feel at home — like I belong here — and now in my mid-60s I consider myself to be British-Jamaican after a long process of becoming neutralised. Sadly, I believe that a lot of people from urban Britain do not feel at home where they are — that they want to be in a rural environment like mine — and I hope that those people have exactly the same opportunities as I have had. That the south-west couple be a place that they could one day call home.