The Canberra Organic Growers Society Inc (COGS) is a non-profit organisation started in 1977 with the aim of providing a forum for organic growers to exchange information and encourage the adoption of organic growing methods.

The principles of organic gardening aim to provide an alternative to modern industrial agriculture’s dependence on synthetic fertilisers, fungicides, herbicides and genetic modification. Organic growers use natural means for improving and preserving our soils to produce nutritious, less contaminated food. The soil, enriched with compost, manure, green manure and mulches, and using companion planting, produces healthy plants which resist pest attacks and disease.

COGS is run by a voluntary committee which is elected annually. For more detailed information about the operation of COGS, click here to download a copy of the Constitution. COGS – Constitution 2016
Its main objectives are to:

  • administer community gardens operated under organic agricultural principles for recreational, educational or rehabilitation purposes and for self-supply of contaminant-free produce;
  • assist members in establishing their own organic growing areas;
  • encourage and demonstrate the use of organic growing techniques;
  • provide a forum for the discussion of matters of interest to organic growers in the ACT and surrounding region;
  • foster the use of organic methods in home gardening, horticulture and agriculture;
  • facilitate exchange of information and ideas between members and with other organic growers and groups.

How COGS Works

Monthly Meetings

Meetings of members are held at the Majura Community Centre, 2 Rosevear Place, Dickson at 7:30pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month (no meetings in December or January). Each month a different speaker discusses organic growing or related issues, for example backyard self-sufficiency, worms or
efficient watering.

After each talk a light supper is available. At all meetings members may also borrow two items from the COGS library.

‘Canberra Organic’ Magazine

Canberra Organic is a quarterly publication which contains articles on organic growing as well as tips specifically for the Canberra region, such as a seasonal planting guide. It also informs members about the speakers for forthcoming meetings and any other activities coming up. Members are encouraged to contribute.

Community Gardens

COGS currently operates twelve community gardens in the Canberra area. The ACT Government has supported the establishment of these gardens and members may obtain a plot to grow organic produce for home consumption. These gardens provide a wonderful opportunity for people to garden with other organic growers, to share their expertise and learn something new at the same time!

At each garden, plot-holders are required to pay a plot levy which covers the cost of water and other running expenses.

Read more …

History of COGS

The Canberra Organic Growers Society Inc. is a non-profit organisation which was started in 1977 with the aim of providing a forum for organic growers to exchange information and encourage the general public to adopt organic growing methods.

This list is incomplete and I would be grateful to learn of errors and omissions. For instance, I don’t know in which year the Watson garden was established.

– Walter Steensby

1977

Founded in August by the enthusiasm of Betty Cornhill. Named the ‘Organic Gardening and Farming Society of the A.C.T.’ or O.G.F.S.A.C.T. Ran a single ‘guerilla’ (unofficial) garden for three years in Watson.

1981

Name changed to Canberra Organic Growers (C.O.G.). Membership sinks to 30; extinction of C.O.G. looking likely.

1980s

Watson garden moved to Mitchell owing to housing developments.

1982

Membership built up to 96; extinction averted.

1985

Adopted a Constitution. Changed name to Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS).

1989

Erindale garden established. Cotter garden moved owning to proposed earthworks (still proposed).

1991

Membership almost 300.

1992

Oaks Estate garden established.

2001-2005

Cook, Dickson, Holder, Kambah, O’Connor and Queanbeyan gardens established.

2009

Kaleen garden established

2011

Membership grows to 430.

2013

Queanbeyan garden transferred to NSW management. Crace garden established. Membership reaches 480.