Divide is a call to action. 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, from Family and Politics to Animal Welfare and the Environment, explores a different aspect of the urban/rural disconnect, weaving case studies and research with Anna's personal stories of growing up on a small, upland farm. 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 heal the land.
Anna Jones is a well-known journalist, broadcaster, blogger and Nuffield Farming Scholar. She is a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today, On Your Farm, Costing the Earth, Food Programme and BBC World Service, and a freelance producer/director on BBC One's Countryfile. She writes for the Guardian and farming trade press. Growing up on the Welsh Borders, 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, Anna's heritage is deeply rooted in working-class, conservative, rural values.
"Divide is well written and thought-provoking"
– Sunday Telegraph
"A lively guide through the thorny challenges of rural life in an urban world. Essential reading for both incomer and local. Anna Jones is insightful but above all sensitive: we walk in everybody's shoes"
– Tom Heap