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Rural heavyweights get behind young city farmers scheme

[Friday 16 March 2007]
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones: Encouraging
young people into the countryside
Photo: theblackfarmer.com

THREE of the biggest names in countryside affairs - the CLA, the Royal Agricultural College and The Black Farmer - are set to work together to stage a new Scheme aimed at opening up a rural way of life to young city dwellers.

In the first year of the annual Young City Farmers initiative - inspired by the original Black Farmer Rural Scholarship which aims to encourage land-based work - the Royal Agricultural College is offering a chance for twelve youngsters from UK cities, who are interested in farming and rural occupations, to experience countryside living.

The scheme will give participants practical experience of land-based work and introduce them to a range of career options.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones' Young Black Farmers Scholarship Scheme, featured in a Channel 4 programme, received much acclaim at its launch and the College says it's delighted that The Black Farmer is now championing this latest enterprise.

David Leaver, RAC Principal, continued: "There are many opportunities within the rural economy and the food chain, but if you have been brought up in a city environment these can pass you by.

"The event will be a fantastic chance for a group of young people to learn some new skills and experience a new style of living."

The College is seeking 12 people to participate in the programme. With little or no experience of the countryside, they will need to be excited by the opportunity to learn rural skills and willing to 'muck in'.

The programme will run over two weeks in the summer and will be based at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. It will be free of charge to the successful applicants.

The project is being sponsored by the CLA Charitable Trust, in line with their commitment to promote the countryside to young city people.

Getting city youngsters into the countryside is something I am absolutely passionate about

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - The Black Farmer

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North said: "Only a generation ago, many more people in this country actually knew a farmer. Sadly, in that time, a gap has opened between rural and urban which has meant less understanding and appreciation on both sides. From a farming point of view, any proposal which will bridge this gap by giving young people the opportunity to experience how their food is produced, the enterprises involved, and how communities and the environment are dependent on this food production must be welcomed."

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, The Black Farmer, added: "Getting city youngsters into the countryside is something I am absolutely passionate about which is why I ran the original The Black Farmer scholarship.

"To have the Royal Agricultural College take up the baton and offer a similar scheme is extremely exciting, and I hope will encourage other colleges to follow suit."

Further information and application forms are available from Julie Swan on 01285 652531 or by email: julie.swan@rac.ac.uk

Information is also available on the College's website: www.rac.ac.uk

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