Grow Organic - increasing certified organic acres

Hands-on Training

Organic Demonstration Gardens

Diversity Gardens is COG PWW’s 2-acre certified organic demonstration farm. The farm provides hands-on training in growing ornamentals, vegetables, fruits and herbs using organic techniques.
For information on the 2009 workshop series, click here.

The farm is located on a Hydro Services right of way that runs through the St. Agatha forest just west of Waterloo. The property is designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and a Water Resources Protection area, and as such provides an ideal location to demonstrate organic techniques for sensitive lands.

Each season a team of volunteers is recruited to help maintain the demonstration gardens. Volunteers also receive training and knowledge in organic growing techniques. Click here for more information on volunteer opportunities.

LearningInternships and Apprenticeships

COG PWW is a member of the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario (CRAFT Ontario) network.

In 2009 Diversity Gardens is offering a part time internship opportunity which focuses on horticulture and organic fruit production. Interns can contact us directly with inquiries or apply through the process described on the CRAFT website.

In addition, every year Diversity Gardens makes certified organic land available to someone who wants to “get their hands dirty” and venture into a farm business growing and marketing produce, herbs, flowers, bees - or whatever!  We provide land, a packing shed, access to the best resource material, access to a mentor and assistance with marketing. In exchange, this new producer agrees to host workshops and tours at the site and participate in local production networks to share experiences with other local growers.

Organic Growing Tips

A monthly feature showcasing techniques for growing and processing certified organic produce.

This month’s feature: Snow, snow and more snow...click here to read more.

 

Production Clubs

COG PWW provides support to local producers through production clubs. The role of the production club is to share and learn together, as well as organize around a local producer-controlled distribution model.

In 2007-2008 COG PWW worked with a group of 15 local producers who organized around a local organic food team (LOFT) cooperative model. LOFT launched a local, organic food box program in the spring of 2008 which sees products from its 15 members being pooled and stored in a central facility, then packed and distributed to eight food depots throughout the region for pick-up by consumers.

In 2008-2009 we are working with two local groups to explore economies of scale, and pilot alternative processing and distribution models.

Contact us for more information about the clubs and how to get involved.

Click here for more information about our research into producer-controlled distribution models.

Farm Profiles

The PWW region makes an important contribution to organic agriculture in the Ontario context. Overall, 10.4% of Ontario’s organic farms are located in the PWW area according to 2006 Agricultural Census data. Read the full report here to learn more about organic agriculture in the region.

Learn more about our local and organic farms in the PWW area.

Contact us for information on how to get your farm profiled.

Resources

  • Practical Skills Handbooks
    • Intro to Certified Organic Farming
    • Gaining Ground: Transitioning to Organic Farming
    • Organic Livestock Handbook
    • Organic Field Crop Handbook
    • Living with Worms in Organic Sheep Production
    • Growing Potatoes Organically – from Market Garden to Field Crop

Coming soon:

    • Record-Keeping for Organic Farmers: how to get and stay certified
    • The non-farmer’s guide to starting an organic market garden
    • Scaling Up Organically
    • Growing Small Fruit Organically
     
  • COG’s mailing library

Explore our Links page for more resources to support organic food production.