Pathways to Land project explores how to secure land for BPOC producers

Pathways to Land will explore financial pathways to securing land appropriate to the needs of BPOC producers (Black and people of colour), who often face barriers to accessing finance based on their identity.

Monday 22 April 2024

Pathways to Land programme by Stir to Action. Credit: Victoria Holden

Pathways to Land programme by Stir to Action. Credit: Victoria Holden

Within the sustainable food movement there is no hiding that the farming sector has the furthest to go in terms of racial equity and diversity. With a long history of land inherited by white landowners, built on colonial structures, and an assumption that Black people and people of colour do not want to farm, there are many barriers to pursuing a career in farming for people from racialised backgrounds. 

The 2023 Jumping Fences report detailed many of the barriers faced by Black people and people of colour including structural racism, isolation and access to land. The Sankofa Report on British Colonialism in the UK Food System and the Rootz into Food Growing both highlighted the importance of traditional and cultural foods as well as issues of land ownership, finance and training opportunities. 

Building on this research is the Pathways to Land project led by Stir to Action, funded via a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Emerging Futures programme. This work will explore the systemic oppression and structural inequalities that have created obstacles to land access for BPOC farmers and growers. Led by an experienced team of Jo Kamal, Pauline Shakespeare and Nicola Scott, the project aims to provide a pathway for aspiring BPOC growers and farmers that navigates current colonial models of land ownership. 

Nicola Scott from Stir to Action told us

"BPOC underrepresentation in British farming is linked to issues stemming from land ownership and enclosure, extraction, and exploitation, which colonialism also greatly benefited from. Pathways to Land aims to address intersectional barriers that racialised minorities face in securing farmland, especially those with less access to finance, to make thriving and remaining in the sector a genuine possibilty for them."

In autumn, there will be two regional in-person events, incorporating BPOC caucus spaces as well as spaces for social investors, progressive lenders and more, to:

  • explore how charitable foundations and funders can make social lending better meet BPOC producers’ needs
  • identify financial instruments appropriate to various BPOC needs including those which account for culturally-informed land use preferences
  • to identify financial ownership models for BPOC farms
  • create a working group of commercial lenders and social investors to work together to develop a unique financial product for minoritised farmers and BPOC-led food producing social enterprises to secure land

Payment is offered for involvement in the project to those that are not already paid by their workplace. 

Following this engagement stage of the project a range of potential solutions and pathways that will lead to more BPOC farmers being able to securely access land will be identified. With the prior evidence in place there is a real opportunity to create much-needed strucutral change in the UK food system. 

For more information about the project or to get involved in the events visit the Stir to Action website or email

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