'Nurture and make the most of the natural world', Julia Bradbury says at Countryside Live in Harrogate

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The countryside is a powerful restorative force but it needs to be better looked after by each and every one us, television presenter Julia Bradbury said.

Speaking at Countryside Live, a weekend-long event celebrating food, farming and nature at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, the former Countryfile and Watchdog presenter championed getting out in "the great outdoors" and encouraged people to make more informed choices about what they eat.

Pictured left to right: Julia Bradbury, sculptor Emma Stothard, the deputy chief executive of Yorkshire Agricultural Society Heather Parry, and Yorkshire vet and Countryside Live guest Peter Wright, at the launch of the new Fodder Garden consisting of Ms Stothard's wire framed sculptors. Picture by Simon Dewhurst.

Pictured left to right: Julia Bradbury, sculptor Emma Stothard, the deputy chief executive of Yorkshire Agricultural Society Heather Parry, and Yorkshire vet and Countryside Live guest Peter Wright, at the launch of the new Fodder Garden consisting of Ms Stothard's wire framed sculptors. Picture by Simon Dewhurst.

In an interview with The Yorkshire Post, Ms Bradbury said the capacity of healthy soils to act as carbon sinks needs to be realised in the fight to avoid climate breakdown and that planting more trees is also important.

Professing the power of nature, the star, who is attending the Yorkshire Agricultural Society's flagship autumn event as its headline guest, said: "Our trees, our land is so vital to our very existence, it’s not just that we need the food, we actually need the nature.

"As human beings, research has now proven all around the world, that time spent outdoors is so good for our mental health and physical health. We have evolved over millions of years out there, we were hunter gatherers and that existence is still important to our DNA these days and this kind of event just cements it."

The presenter who grew up in Sheffield and spent time walking in the Peak District, has been taking part in on-stage Q&As, has taste-tested samples of produce from the Society's on-site farm shop and cafe, Fodder, and has presented a trophy in the sheep ring.

"One of the reasons I’m very happy to be here and involved in this event over the weekend is Fodder, which is the farm shop and cafe here that supports the work of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society but... they also get kids to come to these kind of events, which is important because it’s the younger generation that have to understand this connection with the countryside and really get to grips with it."

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She said she believed the prevailing public narrative around environmental concerns and climate change means people are taking a greater interest in the countryside.

"I think they are. It’s wonderful to see that change taking place now. People are more aware and even if you live in a city... I love city life, it’s stimulating and there are lots of things that are culturally important for life in the city but you should never lose that connection with the countryside and with nature because we all need it, we are all part of it.

"Wherever you live, whatever you do, you need to get out here sometimes and breath in the fresh air, touch trees and understand that the fertile soil is supporting you."

Given the importance of acting on climate change, the public's general understanding about the countryside needs to run deeper, she said.

"The fertilisation of soil is going to be hugely important when it comes to carbon capture. If soils are healthier they become carbon sinks.

"Right now everyone is talking about carbon emissions, we all fly too much, we all drive too much and I think we have reached a point of guilt, but really now the world has to get to grips with the science, the new technologies that are being discovered everyday that can help, and planting more trees and promoting soil health are two things that can genuinely help us on a micro scale and a global scale, and we need more people to understand that."

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Farming is part of the equation of creating a better, more sustainable environment for mankind to flourish, she said.

"Farming can absolutely be part of the solution. I’m not for huge industrial farming but sustainable farming, done in a caring, small-scale way can actually help with environmental issues and that’s what we need to be promoting and talking more about."

She rejected the 'anti-meat' message pushed by some vegan campaigners, but said it was important that people eat balanced diets.

"We need to try and reduce our consumption in some ways and just be informed about the right things to eat.

"I know a lot of farmers are up in arms because of people saying ‘go vegan, go vegetarian’, I don’t say that but, consider when you eat meat, how often you eat meat and where does the meat come from.

"Go local, choose meat from your local supplier, and if it’s expensive, eat less of it. Do what our grandparents did, they didn’t eat meat everyday.

"People are eating meat three times a day, they are having it in their sarnies in the morning, they are having it for lunch in a cheap sandwich and they are having it for dinner, that’s not sustainable. That’s not to say I’m not supporting the farming industry, it’s about saying we can’t eat what we want all the time every single day.

"We have got a massive global population to sustain now we have to just box a little bit more clever about this."

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