Thank you to everyone who participated in Fall Reflections 2013! This year’s event was held at the newly renovated hall rented from the Unitarian Fellowship at the Heartwood House complex in Vanier.
Food, auction, and visiting. Doors opened at 2pm and guests were invited to complementary coffee donated by Bridgehead, and healthy snacks prepared by Chef Kent and his students at Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary School – a Growing Up Organic partner school.
There was a silent auction fundraiser, for which all items were generously donated to support COG OSO programs – including a “wind resistant” pottery garden vase! Guests also browsed our used book sale and visited with our program leaders for Growing Up Organic and Senior Organic Gardeners.
Illustrated annual report. At 2:30 our outgoing chairperson, Susan Preston, gave a photographic tour of COG OSO’s events and program activity over the last year, starting with Fall Reflections 2012. We introduced the Steering Committee for 2014, including five new members and many returning members. A full report will be posted shortly.
Outstanding Volunteers for 2013. This year we were thrilled to honour three wonderful people with COG OSO’s Outstanding Volunteer Award: Tom Manley, George Bushell, and Gillian Boyd.
Expert Panel Discussion. The featured event this year was an expert panel discussion that asked the questions: Why Local? Why Organic? Robin Turner, certified organic farmer at Roots & Shoots Farm made the case for “certified organic”, while in contrast Paul Slomp of Grazing Days Beef Farm made the case for “local”. Some of the most important differences between “local” and “organic” were identified, and many of the issues of concern were discussed. Lia Walsh, Chair of Fair Trade Ottawa, addressed the issue of ethical sourcing internationally, particularly as so much of the food and other products we rely on come from all around the world. Moderator Sheila Petzold, Director of Communications at USC Canada, did a stellar job of leading a civilized discussion among panelists and the audience.
What is Fall Reflections all about? While the Canadian Organic Growers national charitable organization is required to convene a formal Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year, its local/regional chapters are not required to do so. But the idea of reflecting on the achievements of each year as the new year approaches is a positive one, and a great reason for hosting a special gathering. Fall Reflections is an opportunity for us to look back to the year completed, to thank all of our amazing volunteers for their involvement, and look forward to the coming year.
Lead organizer: Margaret Tourond-Townson