We had the pleasure of having Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones as a contributor for For The Love of the Land, a book that celebrates the farming industry here in the UK. You might know him by the better-known name ‘The Black Farmer’, also the title of his brand which you can find in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, online at Ocado and other stores around the country.
From Frankfield, Clarendon, Jamaica, Wilfred’s parents decided to move to the UK for better opportunities for them and their children.
‘My dad had a much-prized allotment where he grew vegetables that supplemented the family food. As the eldest boy it was my job to help tend the allotment and it was there that I found some space away from the very crowded two up two down that we all lived in. It was on that allotment that I first dreamed of owning my own farm, a piece of the British countryside, and it was that dream that became my focus in everything I did.’
After arriving in 1950s Wilfred finally fulfilled his dream in 1999. He bought a small farm on the Devon-Cornwall border. Many of his farming neighbours had never met a black person before, which is how his brand name came about, the Black Farmer.
Even after serious problems with his health in his 50s he still continued to create and inspire, from making soaps in lockdown to joining a Morris Dancing troupe to launching a rural scholarship scheme through which young people from inner city communities are given the opportunity to experience what it is really like to live and work in the rural community.
He contributed a great Shepard’s pie recipe along with a short piece about himself. It was an honour to have him as part of the book and he’s an inspiration to us all!