Since the last issue of Canberra Organic in which our main concern was the impact of the ongoing drought and the terrible destruction caused by the bushfires which raged across our region, we now are facing the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 virus health emergency.

I would like to thank all connected with COGS gardens, namely our garden convenors, plot holders and their families, for your efforts in supporting and managing the COGS response to COVID-19.

We have worked with our friends at the Canberra City Farm to keep our gardens open and implement the personal safety protocols required by the ACT and Commonwealth Governments.

Individual garden convenors have been diligent in supervising implementation of the protocols regarding hand washing, wearing of gloves and social distancing, and have ensured our safety posters are prominently displayed at garden entrances.

Unfortunately, a casualty of the current lockdown situation has been the postponement of the COGS Annual General Meeting. Members will be notified by email when the meeting is able to be scheduled.

In the meantime, the COGS Executive Committee is meeting using a video conferencing facility which is proving to be successful way to keep connected. Our Membership secretary reports considerable public interest in our gardens and membership of our society, which is great news.
The Executive Committee is also concerned with the heavy water usage reported over the past year, due to the prevailing climatic conditions and will consider the need for further plot fee increases in the coming financial year.

Negotiations also continue with the ACT Government regarding the renewal of the existing COGS licence to operate community gardens.
The Charnwood community garden open day in March proved very successful and highlighted the very productive and peaceful nature of our gardens — our local politicians were suitably impressed. Well done to Teresa Rose and her team for organising such a wonderful day.

Cathy Morison, our new Web manager, has commenced the task of rejuvenating the COGS website. There is still quite a way to go, but already the site is fresh and lively. Information and material will be progressively updated and I encourage you to have a look. If you have any ideas as to what else could be added, please let the Executive Committee know.

Despite the challenging health and social conditions, our gardens are looking in great shape with the recent good weather, excellent rainfall and the tremendous efforts of our gardeners. I wish you all a productive autumn and winter growing season and look forward to seeing you all in person once social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Peter Weddell