Farming scholar Anna Jones’ exploration of the divide between urban and rural issues has been picked up by Kyle Books.
Publisher Joanna Copestick acquired world rights directly from the author. The Octopus imprint will publish Divide: The Relationship Crisis Between Town and Country on 3rd March 2022.
“This book is a call to action,” the synopsis reads. “It warns that unless we learn to accept and respect our social, cultural and political differences as town and country people, we are never going to solve the chronic problems in our food system and environment.
“As we stare down the barrel of climate change, only farmers—who manage two-thirds of the UK’s landscape—working together with conservation groups can create a healthier food system and bring back nature in diverse abundance. But this fledgling progress is hindered and hamstrung by simplistic debates that still stoke conflict between conservative rural communities and the liberal green movement.”
Each chapter explores a different aspect of the disconnect between the urban and rural worlds, from family and politics to animal welfare and the environment, weaving case studies and research with Jones’ personal stories of growing up on a small, upland farm.
Kyle Books dubbed the book a “groundbreaking exploration of the urban and rural cultural division”. The publisher added: “There is a simple theme and a strong message running throughout the book, a plea to respect our differences, recognise each other’s strengths and work together to protect and preserve the land.”
Copestick said: “I’m delighted to be publishing this fascinating account of the urban/rural divide, written by a rural affairs journalist who has a unique perspective and insight into the cultural, agricultural and social issues that often divide rather than unite. Anna Jones, having grown up on a sheep farm in the Welsh borders, brings her urban ‘media sensibility’ to bear on the reasons why, more than ever, these two disparate sections of society need to work together on the common goal of caring for the land.”
Jones is a journalist, broadcaster, blogger and Nuffield Farming Scholar. She has been heard on BBC Radio 4’s “Farming Today”, “On Your Farm”, “Costing the Earth”, “The Food Programme” and the World Service, and is a freelance producer/director on BBC One’s “Countryfile”. She has also written for the Guardian and farming trade press. She grew up on the Welsh borders, and is decended from at least five generations of farmers on her father’s side and a long line of butchers and farm labourers on her mother’s.
She commented: “I spend a lot of time feeling caught in the middle of the urban and rural divide. Farmers talk to me about it all the time—sometimes angrily. My family debate it around the dinner table. In the city, where I live and work, I hear assumptions and stereotypes about country life, which aren’t always true. I play devil’s advocate, trying to help one side see the other’s perspective. To me, the divide is real and obvious, but it’s never really been delved into. I wanted to change that, and help two very different worlds understand each other better.”