In light of recent events surrounding Black Lives Matter and issues of racism within our society, I thought it was important to have a short word on the topic.
Back in February, I posted a blog post delving into the lack of diversity within the horticulture industry, and the systemic racism that contributes to that lack of diversity. I concentrated more specifically on Juliet Sargeant, who was the first black gardener to win the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016, the first black winner throughout its 106-year history.
After the death of George Floyd on the 25th May, the Black Lives Matter movement gained a new wave of momentum and support, with many influencers and companies contributing to the revolt for change surrounding racism in both the US and in the U.K. As our industry is concerned in these matters, I thought it would be important to shed light onto some of the issues within the industry.
As this movement has brought light to the industry’s existing and ongoing systematic racism, there have been more posts and articles surrounding issues within horticulture. James Wong wrote an article for the Guardian titled ‘Weeding out horticulture’s race problem’ where he describes the kinds of racial discrimination and prejudice that he faces within the industry.
There is also a very in-depth article on hortweek.com that asks why black people are so under-represented within the industry, and shows perspective on the issue.
In essence, the lack of representation and diversity within the industry stems from multiple aspects including lack of representation in the media with very few Black role-models for younger generations, lack of diversity within decision-makers in horticultural institutions as well as other economic and political reasons which are widely explained in news articles and on social media.
Therefore, as a platform whose aim is to help individuals within horticulture, we have decided to donate to Urban Synergy – an early intervention mentoring charity that helps over 1,000 young people between 11-18 years of age reach their full potential through outcome-focused mentoring programmes and inspirational seminars. We are conscious of our ability to influence the next generations of gardeners, and we would like to ensure that these generations are as inclusive as we can possibly make them, and we are dedicated to help where we can.