Monty Don succeeded Jonathan Dimbleby as President of the Soil Association in September 2008.
Monty has presented gardening and travel programmes for the past fifteen years. He is a prolific journalist, and was The Observer's gardening editor from 1994 until 2006. His bestselling books include Fork to Fork and The Jewel Garden, The Complete Gardener, and My Roots, a collection of his gardening columns from The Observer.
In 2005, Monty set up a smallholding where a group of persistent offenders – mainly drug addicts – worked on the land. His book, Growing Out Of Trouble, is a powerful account of what happened. His latest series, Around the World in 80 Gardens, was recently televised by the BBC.
A long-time advocate of organic food and growing, Monty has always been aware of the connection between the health of the soil and our own fragile psyches. "I'm very aware that right at the core of the Soil Association’s beliefs is the care of the physical essence that we live on, grow our food from and which literally shapes the world. The healing aspect of soil is one that is recognised by many – be it from the effects of mental illness, grief, loneliness or just the whirligig of modern life. Yet not too many producers of food are making this connection."