It’s the final day of the blogtour for this thought-provoking e-book and I’m delighted to be closing the tour.
Anna Jones is a journalist specialising in nation affairs, figuring out of Bristol. She’s additionally a farmer’s daughter, and her e-book is her evaluation of the connection between city and nation as its sub-title says.
On days after I get up slightly early and swap on the radio, I can recall listening to her title as reporter on Radio 4’s Farming At present, considered one of many reveals she is concerned with, and he or she labored on BBC1’s Countryfile for over a decade.
The e-book begins by speaking about ‘Residence’, which for Jones’ first 18 years was a hill farm on the Shropshire/Welsh borders, and he or she explores her family historical past on the farm. There are neighbours who’ve barely left the county. However contrasting with that there are the tales of incomers to the farming world, like Sinead who turned fascinated by agriculture whereas working in recruitment. She took voluntary redundancy and began a market backyard along with her companion, rising speciality greens and edible flowers for the restaurant commerce. She lastly felt at house in her new profession.
Jones is superb at taking a look at all sides of every chapter’s matter, transferring on to take a look at Work, Politics, Range, Animals, Meals, Atmosphere and Neighborhood within the subsequent sections.
In ‘Work’ she appears on the issues of psychological well being within the farming neighborhood, speaking to quite a lot of farmers about their excessive work ethics. Nearly all of calls to farming helplines are about severe psychological well being points.
I’m coming to understand that residing and considering like a workhorse and martyring your self to a ‘lifestyle’ is flawed and flies within the face of all the most effective recommendation round reaching work/life stability and defending psychological well being. And a few farmers are reaching the identical conclusion.
There are lighter sides to the topic of labor too, viz some farmers’ attitudes in the direction of how their enterprise is portrayed on the small display.
The perceived rose-tinted city view of farming and rural life is a supply of countless frustration to those that stay and work on the land and it’s the exact causes BBC One’s flagship rural affairs programme Countryfile earned its nickname ‘Towniefile’.There are various folks within the countryside who actually, vehemently despise Countryfile. I do know as a result of they inform me. […]
However farmers would typically select Clarkson over Craven.
Based on the Cumbrian shepherd and creator James Rebanks, Clarkson’s Farm did extra for British agriculture in a single collection than Countryfile did in 30 years. […]
He’s proper although that Jeremy Clarkson has elevated consciousness of on a regular basis farming life. […]
And it did an ideal job of shining a light-weight on odd rural folks. I do know Calebs, Charlies and Geralds from my very own farming neighborhood and I’ve lengthy contemplated how one can get their unseen faces and unheard voices on mainstream telly.
The chapter on ‘Animals’ concentrates on animal welfare, and brings townies extra into the narrative by discussing the place our meat comes from, among the practicalities about rearing animals to be slaughtered, wanting on the varied schemes and affordability. In ‘Meals’ she appears on the very actual divide between vegan activists and livestock farmers, however she is ready to discover a vegan champion who was prepared to speak to a farmer who actually does the most effective for his animals – neither received one another over, however they gained a brand new appreciation of one another’s factors of view.
Within the last chapter, Neighborhood, she returns to the theme of house, of the exodus of metropolis dwellers to the countryside. Even she and her companion Adam, determine to maneuver to Shrewsbury for a trial interval to see if townie Adam can address a change of tempo – within the post-Covid epilogue we uncover he can!
I’m a resolute townie, and couldn’t stay in an enormous metropolis now, however I do like having sufficient amenities on my doorstep (particularly bookshops!), with the ability to be observe nature shut by (I’m going previous fields of wheat and pig arks on my 5-mile drive to work), and nonetheless with the ability to entry town when wanted – I couldn’t stay within the isolation of farming hamlets. On the college the place I work, we take our smallest pupils to Adam Henson’s (he of Countryfile) Cotswold Farm Park – a visit they adore, however farm visits are usually not on the curriculum additional up the varsity years, which is a disgrace in a means.
As a townie then, Divide was an satisfying and fascinating learn that gave me, (like Clarkson’s Farm), a a lot elevated respect for the lot of the farmer, be they arable, livestock or market gardeners. Jones’s e-book is probably extra of a paean to farming (though she does acknowledge a few of its faults too) than a real exploration of the variations between city and nation, however for us townies it is filled with encouragement to attach the 2 worlds wherever we will, and I applaud that.
Supply: Assessment copy. Kyle Books paperback, 282 pages.
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