Summer 2022

Article: Andy Hrast (Canberra Organic – Summer 2022).

Dear fellow COGS member

Rain and more rain. And the forecast is for continuing wet weather. Our gardens are waterlogged and, in some cases, flooded. This is a dampener (pun intended) on the start to our growing season. It is making it difficult to work the soil and germinate seeds that are sown. The overcast weather is also slowing the warming of the soil for the transplanting of the summer crops. On the other hand, grass and weeds are thriving! I can only encourage everyone to try and keep on top of the weeds and the mowing. Once they get away the task becomes even more daunting.

Since the last edition of Canberra Organic there has been progress in several areas.

On Sunday 16 October 2023, members gathered at the Kambah community garden for a General Meeting to consider a revised constitution for COGS. I am pleased to say that the revised constitution was adopted unanimously and is now in the process of being formally advised to the ACT Government, as required by the regulations. This was the culmination of an 18-month process that brings COGS up-to-date and on a sounder legal and administrative footing.

Thank you to everyone who came to the meeting, the Kambah community garden for hosting the meeting and everybody who contributed to this important reform.

September saw our gardens hold their Annual General Meetings. New convenors were elected at three gardens (Fiona Dawes – Kaleen; Josh Motbey – Oaks Estate; Debbie-Jo Dutton and Oliver Busset – co-convenors Mitchell). It’s gratifying to see new people coming forward to take on these roles as part of the continual renewal of COGS to keep it operating and relevant. Thank you to all the people who put their hands up and were elected as garden Convenor or members of a garden committee. Without your willingness to take on these roles our gardens could not function. Also thank you also to the outgoing convenors (Narelle Maclean, Nick Potter and Karen James) for your years of contribution.

Neil Williams, our Treasurer, reports that there has been an excellent and timely payment of the annual fees. Thank you everyone.

COGS is now well resourced, and several gardens are taking advantage of this by bringing forward projects for funding. If your garden has an investment need, now is the time to bring it forward.

Several members of the Executive Committee have recently met with the Yeddung Mura Aboriginal Corporation in Tuggeranong to discuss ways COGS could be involved in helping them develop a community garden. These are ongoing discussions and I hope to be able to report more in the next edition.

I have previously written about the proposed Casey Community Recreation Park. The master plan for the park has been released and it is pleasing to see it includes provision for a community garden. Unfortunately, there is no funding to establish the garden at this stage. However, the COGS Executive will be meeting ACT Government officials to discuss a way forward. The COGS Executive last year reinstituted the awarding of Life Membership. There is further information about how you can nominate a member elsewhere in the magazine and there will be an email to all shortly asking for nominations. COGS is wonderfully endowed with some many people who put in so much. Please consider nominating people who you consider should be publicly recognised for their contribution.

The record-keeping in COGS, like most community volunteer organisations, is, at best, haphazard. So it is pleasing to see a working group of Michele Barson, Cathy Morison, Peter Weddell and Terry Williams working to address this in COGS.

The first stage – the digitising of the magazine so that back copies can be easily accessed on the website – is now largely complete apart from missing editions. A streamlined process to deposit future editions in the National eDeposit Scheme has also been developed. This will meet COGS legal obligations to deposit its publications with the National Library of Australia within three months of publication.

The final stage is developing an integrated recording system that will save in an easily searched format for retrieval documents and decisions. Work on this well underway and will stand COGS in good stead.

Whilst on the subject of data, I would like reassure members that information held by COGS about members is not stored on individuals’ computers. COGS uses MYOB, which has encrypted entry, to store membership data records and any banking information is held on our banker’s (Westpac) system. Nevertheless, the COGS Executive has instituted a review of both how data is held and what data needs to be held.

Since starting to write this the sun has come out and it is now a beautiful day. Let’s hope we get some more sunny days going forward.

—Andy Hrast