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Amanda Owen feels people might value countryside more after lockdown

·3-min read

Our Yorkshire Farm star Amanda Owen has said she feels people might “value” the countryside more after being “curtailed and trapped” during the pandemic.

The TV farmer runs a 2,000-acre hill farm called Ravenseat in Swaledale, North Yorkshire, alongside her husband Clive and together they take care of their nine children and about 1,000 sheep.

Owen is releasing a new book which features stories and pictures from their lives in the countryside, alongside seasonal adaptable recipes.

The 47-year-old shepherdess told the PA news agency: “It’s about the countryside, it’s about the things that people maybe value a little bit more now.

“During the pandemic, that was the one thing that was taken away from people, it doesn’t matter how much technology you’ve got, or how many Zooms you do, if what you really crave is fresh air and to be out in the elements.”

She added that it is a “timely book” in that sense, adding: “I think after the last 18 months people maybe have more of an awareness and thinking about that a little bit more because we’ve been curtailed and trapped.”

Owen explained the book is her answer to how she feeds her family of 11 by discussing what produce is in season and translating this to what is widely available in shops and more cost-effective to buy.

She told PA: “We’re very fortunate that we live in this beautiful place, but it comes with its challenges.

The shepherdess has nine children and around 1,000 sheep to tend to (Midas PR/PA)
The shepherdess has nine children and around 1,000 sheep to tend to (Midas PR/PA)

“But everybody, wherever you are, whether you live in a tower block in Leeds, or whether you live on a remote high hill farm, we all face challenges and one of the binding factors in the challenges that we face is how to feed ourselves.”

Owen added that preventing food waste is a focus of the book, saying: “Food waste is an enormous problem, throwing away food yet other people not being able to access food, that is just so tragic.

“I can’t solve that, we have wonderful campaigners like Marcus Rushford, we have real voices out there talking about how it is.”

Instead, she aims to provide tips on how they bulk buy and store food during the winter, and how to make food go further and adapt what you have already got stocked.

Many images that feature within the book look idyllic as they show her children roaming through open fields and beautiful landscapes, but she admitted that there are days when things are not picturesque and she considers giving up farming life.

The book documents her life through the seasons (Midas PR/PA)
The book documents her life through the seasons (Midas PR/PA)

She explained how at times their electricity goes out or they have no running water, adding: “I hope that some of the images show that as well.

“I’ve never shied away from that on social media, I’ve put pictures up when I’ve had various issues, and when I do my presentation there’s a dead cow in a bog.

“Is it a picture that you’d want to stare at for ages? Probably not, but it’s reality and it happens, and that’s why it’s important that you take it as a whole.

“If you read the book, it’s got the good, the bad, and the ugly. You lose things, things die, that’s really important (to show).”

The Owen family also stars in Channel 5 documentary series Our Yorkshire Farm, which follows their lives at Ravenseat Farm.

Celebrating the Seasons with The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen is published on October 28 by Pan Macmillan.

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