He’s the heir to business millions and she’s the former model who swapped the catwalk and high heels for wellies and a life down on the farm. Together they are, according to The Guardian “the eco movement’s most glamorous couple.”
Sheherazade Goldsmith lives with husband Zac on a 300-acre organic estate in Devon. Zac took over editing the Ecologist from his Uncle Teddy in 1997, the same year in which his businessman father Sir Jimmy Goldsmith died. Uncle Teddy is still going strong — investing in Green companies, attending seminars on the Environment and holding forth unstoppably on all things Green. (Click below for more)
But Sheherezade can clearly hold her own, particularly when it comes to her specialist subject, children’s food. Being young – she’s just 30, well-heeled, a small size eight and fashionably attired, she is dubbed a yummy mummy by the media. She has a clutch of angelic-looking children – Uma, four, Thyra, two, and James, one. ‘Everyone is always surprised because I look about 12,’ Sherezade says.
Not that she’d dream of preaching to her friends, though she does sometimes phone their local authorities to order recycling bins for them, and she has been bulk-buying copies of the two most feisty polemics on the conventional food industry, Shopped by Joanna Blythman and Not on the Label by Felicity Lawrence, to give to friends for Christmas.
When she first met Zac six years ago, her favourite food was white bread and Marmite. ‘Zac had to persuade me about the whole food issue.’ Evidently the girl’s no pushover: ‘The only way I was convinced was through documentation. He would present me with official reports. Of course, this is all six years ago when there just wasn’t the widespread information.’
Official documentation aside, she thinks becoming a mother automatically makes people more ecologically aware; and then, of course, there’s the farm. ‘If you spend any time outdoors, working with animals, you see that natural, traditional farming – I don’t necessarily think of it just in terms of being organic – makes a great deal of sense.’
But while the ecosystem’s all trotting along nicely, they haven’t been able to green the manor house to the extent that they would have liked. ‘We really wanted to put solar panels in the roof, but,’ she adds regretfully, ‘it’s a Grade I listed building so we can’t do much with it.’ Most people would consider that kind of heritage a bit of a boon, I suggest. ‘
The farm means that they are almost self-sufficient – but, again, because they’re not there full time, they no longer produce butter or cream. ‘I do think we have the best sausages in the West Country, though,’ she says. If she stops and thinks about it, before her white bread and Marmite phase, Sheherazade says she was ‘brought up to value good, natural food’.
‘The thing about travelling for me now is that if you lead quite an environmental life it is a big issue. So you do think about things like needlessly travelling across the world for no reason at all.’ However, their decision to limit their flights is not just environmental: