The LGBTQ Food and Farming Community
The LGBTQ food and farming community consists of the farmers themselves, along with government ministers, advocates, food critics and commentators. It is an important and common segment to all countries and has deep historical roots. Yet it is also a segment that is often neglected in today's urban society. The Williams Institute reports that 10% of all same sex couples live in rural areas, and they tend to have lower incomes than straight rural couples.
According to a study on queer farmers (see Wiley link below), queer people are largely ignored as potential farmers by the agriculture and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer movements, and the profession has embedded discrimination in terms of farmer recruitment, retention, and land acquisition. However, those who are in the field state that they face less discrimination once in the profession than they anticipated, though there remains issues of isolation and loneliness for many LGBTQ farmers.
The Queer Farmer Film Project in the United States looks at the experiences of queer farmers across the country and asks – what does it mean to be a queer farmer, is agriculture a safe space for queer people, and what are the relationships between food production and queerness? They produced the 2013 documentary film 'Out Here' featuring their answers. Similarly, a segment on the BBC show Countryfile investigated the high suicide rates among gay farmers in that country – and the stigma that is still rife in rural communities.
Agrespect, a UK-based resource for the country's LGBTQ farming community, was created directly as a result of the Countryfile findings. Gay Farmer Helpline in the U.K. has also been created to offer help and advice to farmers. In the United States, the Cultivating Change Foundation has been established to advocate, work on education, and support the LGBTQ farming community - they have a regular conference that attracts hundreds of participants.
Several LGBTQ individuals have played prominent roles in their country's agricultural industry as government ministers. Some are responsible for considerable media production on issues important to the profession, such as the Food Network in the United States. Others are well know food and wine critics, including Craig Claiborne of the New York Times and Yotam Ottolenghi of The Guardian.
We have identified the following individuals who have a high profile in the food and agricultural sector. Simply click on their names to reveal their fascinating biographies.
- Mark Johnston, food television producer
- Nick Brown, government minister
- Amy Lame, food blogger
- Jonathan Harvey, The Food Chain charity
- Colm Howard-Lloyd, The Food Chain charity
- Sir Cameron MackIntosh, The Food Chain charity
- Allegra McEvedy, Chef-in-residence, Guardian newspaper
- Yotam Ottolenghi, Food columnist, Guardian newspaper
- Naith Payton, food writer and blogger
- John Whaite, Food columnist, The Daily Telegraph newspaper
- Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, government minister
- Gerda Verberg, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Minister of Agriculture
- Elissa Altman, food blogger
- Drew Barrymore, UN World Food Program
- James Beard, philanthropist/awards presenter
- Matt Bellassai, YouTube wine taster
- Anne Burrell, Food Network host
- Rachel Carson, agriculture critic
- Craig Claiborne, Food Editor, New York Times
- Joshua David, freelance journalist
- Matthew Derr, food education and research
- Jesse Lee Eller, Cultivating Change Foundation
- Marcus Lee Hollan, Cultivating Change Foundation
- Brooke Johnson, Food Network executive
- D'Arcy Kemnitz, Center for Food Safety
- Damien Navarro, organic farmer with Monkey Business Farms
- Ven Neralla, National Institute of Agriculture
- Nathan Runkle, animal rights activist
- Lee Schrager, wine and food show presenter
- Bruce Seidel, HotLemon Productions, former Food Network executive
- Fran Tirado, Food 4 Thot
- Bob Tuschman, Food Network executive
- Greg Van Dyke, Cultivating Change Foundation
- EJ Zita, Thurston County Agriculture Committee