Sustainable gardening charity Garden Organic is delighted to welcome two new Vice Presidents to its board; pictured above is Jane Davidson (left) and Pam Whittle CBE (right), together with Prof Tom Lang (President).
Jane Davidson is the Chair of Wales Net Zero 2035 and the author of #futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country – the story of how Wales became the first country in the world to legislate in the interest of future generations.
She is passionate about living lightly and has gardened organically for more than 30 years. She and her husband manage a smallholding in west Wales, growing as much of their own food as they can.
“‘Why garden organically?’ is a question I’m often asked,” says Jane. “Particularly by visitors to our smallholding, who by contrast have their own neat lawns and borders kept rigid by weed killers!
“Actually, it’s an easy question to answer as we can see the benefits all around us – in the soil with the high number of earth worms; in the air with the songs of the birds and the bees; and in the taste of what we grow – knowing we can eat directly from the plants as we don’t use pesticides. We are able to grow more than enough of our own food to keep us all year round.
“So, really, the question should be ‘why wouldn’t you garden organically, when you can get all these benefits, gardening for yourself and nature too?’ That’s why I accepted the role of Vice President for Garden Organic and that’s why I hope more people will use the excellent resources and support it provides to find out the benefits for themselves. You will see, hear and smell the difference!”
Jane is also a patron of the UK Chartered Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Managers and was Pro Vice Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. From 2000-2011 she was also Cabinet Minister for Education, and then Environment and Sustainability in Wales where she proposed legislation to make sustainability the central organising principle of government: The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act came into law in 2015.
Jane is joined as Vice President by Pam Whittle CBE. Pam is a past Director of Health Improvement for the Scottish Government. While working in this role, she joined the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley) and became an enthusiastic exhibitor at the Spring Show. Pam was elected The Caley President in 2011 and served until 2016.
In 2016, Pam successfully led The Caley’s partnership bid with the City of Edinburgh Council for £4 million Lottery funding to restore Saughton Park, providing a home for The Caley and creating a leading educational facility for Scottish horticulture.
Pam is a keen and successful grower of daffodils and auriculas but her long standing passion has been growing vegetables.
“I’m excited to get more involved with Garden Organic because there is so much expertise we can share”, says Pam. “I’d like to collaborate on practical sessions at The Caley, but also pass on organic messages more widely. I’m fully behind Garden Organic’s vision for more sustainable, environmentally-friendly gardening and believe I’m well placed to spread the word in Scotland. As a country, we probably don’t make enough noise about the importance of organic gardening, but we need to make more noise in order to create understanding and change”.
Fiona Taylor, Chief Executive of Garden Organic, is thrilled that Jane and Pam share the charity’s passion for protecting the UK’s precious biodiversity and growing in a healthy sustainable manner.
She says: “We cannot afford to further deplete our crucial biodiversity, too much wildlife has already been lost. We need to ditch polluting sprays full of harmful chemicals that leave pesticide residue on our food, look after our soil with peat-free compost and reduce food miles by growing our own produce in our back gardens, yards, balconies and window ledges.
“At Garden Organic we’ve been campaigning for 65 years for people to protect the environment and grow in a sustainable manner. We pass on our knowledge through online advice, events across the UK, and workshops both online and in person at our organic demonstration garden near Coventry.
“We are so pleased that Jane and Pam are strong advocates of sustainable growing. We are looking forward to working with them to promote the benefits of organic growing right across the UK”.
Jane and Pam join current Vice Presidents, Raymond Blanc OBE, Thelma Barlow and Susan Hampshire, and President Professor Tim Lang in leading Garden Organic.
For further information on how to become a member of Garden Organic and how to benefit from its online and in person workshops visit: gardenorganic.org.uk