A PEMBROKESHIRE resident has become the vice president of a sustainable growing charity.

Jane Davidson, who is currently the chairwoman of Wales Net Zero 2035, takes up the role at the charity Garden Organic.

The former Welsh cabinet minister for education, the environment and sustainability - who held the roles between 2000 and 2011 - owns a smallholding in Pembrokeshire and grows as much of her own food as she can alongside her husband.

“Why garden organically? is a question I’m often asked,” Jane said. “Particularly by visitors to our smallholding, who by contrast have their own near 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 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 and is patron of the UK Chartered Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Managers.

She is also pro vice chancellor Emeritus of University of Wales Trinity St David.

During her time as a Welsh Government minister, she proposed legislation to make sustainability at the heart of law, with the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act coming into law in 2015.

Fiona Taylor, Garden Organic’s chief executive, said: “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 have staff who travel throughout Wales and the whole of the UK giving home composting advice to councils.

"We have run a master gardener volunteering scheme as part of the Tyfu Dyfi project and worked with other volunteer community gardening organisations across the Dyfi biosphere.

“We are so pleased that we have such a strong advocate of our beliefs in Wales and look forward to meeting more people interested in organic growing at the next Wales Real Food and Farming conference.

"Garden Organic was a sponsor of this event in 2022 and we participated in the session on food leadership in the public sector and the community.”

Jane joins fellow vice presidents Raymond Blanc OBE, Thelma Barlow, Susan Hampshire, Pam Whittle and president Professor Tim Lang. For more information on Garden Organic, visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk