Past Events

Monday, May 9, 2016
7 – 9 pm
Calling all beginner gardeners!
Location:  Bain Co-Op Community Centre
Cost:  pwyc
Jump-start into edible gardening and healthier living with Zora.
Does the thought of starting an edible garden intimidate you?  Healthy organic eating can be steps from your door.  Whether you have a yard, balcony or kitchen, come and learn the basics from getting started to harvesting the bounty.  We will touch on soil health, composting, seed starting, storing, sharing and organic gardening, permaculture as a way of thinking and living, learning from Mother Nature, wise choices for every location so that we can save energy, nutrients and water, interplanting, perennials versus annuals, diversity, forest gardening and plant guilds for small city gardens, balconies and more.
Gardening conversation – all questions welcomed.

Sunday, August 23, 2015
1 – 4 pm
COG 40th Anniversary Picnic
Location: St. Andrew by the Lake, Cibola Avenue, Toronto Islands
The church is a 20 minute walk from the Wards Island boat or about the same time from the Centre Island dock.  On weekends, bikes can only be brought on the Wards Island boat.  It’s a 10 minute ride to church.  There’s a washroom and kitchen available in the church.
Please bring your picnic – we’ll have cake.
We plan to stay outdoors, but will move indoors in case of rain.
Join us and relax on the greens of the island with like minded COG friends. We’ll have some time to chat, wander, eat and learn from a few folks available to talk informally about their passions:
Mike Nevin: composting
Zora Ignjatovic: gardening
Rhea Baluyut:  nutrition/iridology
Maria Kasstan: SEEDS of Diversity
Helene St-Jacques: surveys and stats
Jane Davidson-Neville: homemade toothpaste and household cleaners

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 
7 – 9 pm
Symphony of the Soil
Location:  Swansea Town Hall, Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, 95 Lavinia Ave. Toronto
Hosted by Green 13 Toronto
A feature film by Deborah Koons Garcia that explores the complexity and mystery of soil.  Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.  Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.

Saturday, April 11, 2015
1 – 3 pm
“Extend the Growing Season” Series
Location:  St. Mathews ClubHouse, 450 Broadview Ave., Riverdale Park East
At Broadview and Langley
Cost:  $10
Calling all gardeners!  Get a head start on the growing season with Kyla Dixon-Muir. Learn how to get your garden going quickly, easily and inexpensively this spring, and how to apply Season Extension Techniques to get as much as a two-month head-start on growing foods outdoors. Learn about ColdFrames and get inspired to keep foods growing far longer into the fall, and right through the winter – all without electricity and a greenhouse.
Kyla has been in the garden every single week – including right through the winter – for many years. As a volunteer, she is the Development Coordinator at Riverdale Meadow Community Garden in downtown Toronto. Using organic practices, she will teach you how to have your garden produce food all year long.
Kyla’s brand new DVDs on Early Spring Starts will be launched at this workshop and will be available for sale. Other materials for ColdFrames and seeds will also be available. Cash sales only

Thursday, November 13, 2014
7 – 9 pm
Genetically Engineered Foods and Your Health
Location:  OISE Auditorium, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto
Cost:  By Donation / $5 suggested
Do you have questions or concerns regarding genetically engineered foods and your health?  Join scientist Dr. Thierry Vrain, a retired genetic engineer with Agriculture Canada, Tony Mitra, citizen journalist and food security activist, and MC Adria Vasil, Ecoholic book author and NOW columnist, to discuss your concerns about genetically engineered foods and how you can take action.
COG Toronto will be at this event. There will be information about organic eating and growing.  Come and say hello!

Saturday, September 20, 2014
7:00 pm
Screening of Symphony of the Soil
Location:  Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St. (at Bathurst subway), Toronto
Cost:  Free (donations welcome to help cover costs)
Symphony of the Soil is a feature film exploring the complexity and mystery of soil. Sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.  The film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.  It is a film that will change you and your relationship with the soil.

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Visit to Valley Pines Organics
Location:  Grafton, ON
A drive to the country and a chance to learn about organic and permaculture gardening.
Once again, our friend, Bob Garthson, is opening his doors at Valley Pines Organic Farm to anyone who would like to spend the day to help with his crops.  Bob is a wealth of information about permaculture, organic and the current state of farming in Ontario and abroad, especially Cuba.  This is an opportunity to spend some time with him and to gain some hands-on experience assisting him on the ground with whatever needs attending to. It has been a particularly challenging season so far getting crops in and keeping them dry. Lots to learn and lots to do with a well seasoned grower and a great opportunity to get your hands in the soil.

Saturday, May 24, 2014
11 am
March Against Monsanto and Requiem for Bees
Location:  Queen’s Park, Toronto
Sierra Club Canada’s John Bennett, teen activist Rachel Parent, nutritionist Julie Daniluk, and organic beekeeper Karen McKenna will perform a “Requiem for Bees”by dumping a coffin filled with hundreds of thousands of bees that have died this past winter to illustrate the increasing numbers of Ontario bee deaths linked to the use of agricultural neonicotinoid pesticides.  Neonicotinoids pesticides are used to control insect pests, especially in GMO corn, soy and canola.  After citizens gather at Queen’s Park, as a part of the bi-annual March Against Monsanto global day of action, they will take to the streets and march to Christie Pits Park to join with the GMO-Free Festival and Farmers’ Market.  COG Toronto will be there.  Join us!

Saturday, May 24, 2014
noon – 6 pm
Toronto GMO-Free Festival and Farmers’ Market
Location:  Christie Pits Park (Christie and Bloor; Christie Subway)
Be a part of this global day of action to raise awareness of the health and environmental risks associated with GMOs while celebrating Ontario’s rapidly growing non-GMO and organic food movement!  This will be Toronto’s first GMO-free festival, and will feature great high-profile speakers, entertaining musicians and performers, info tables on crucial health and environmental issues, and a wide variety of non-GMO munchies to sample or purchase!  The Festival will be fun and educational for all ages…we’re thrilled to host our keynote speaker, health advocate and whisteblower, Dr. Shiv Chopra, as well as ten other notable speakers working on health and environmental issues related to GMOs.  Children will love The Kite Collective’s bee and monarch kite-making Playlab.
COG Toronto will be part of the festival and have a table at the event.  

Friday, October 18, 2013
7 – 9 pm
Let’s Talk Volunteering
Location:  Party Room 15 Maitland Place, Toronto (Wellesley and Jarvis)
COG Toronto would like to meet with current and would-be volunteers to discuss volunteering for COG.  What are the opportunities?  What are the expectations?  Is there training?  What are the benefits?  A free-wheeling discussion to answer questions and give you a broad picture of our work and what can be done.  As a special treat, we’ll be screening an inspirational video of one man’s incredible work in rehabilitating his land and, in the process, preserving endangered medicinal plants.

Thursday, September 26, 2013
7 pm
Symphony of the Soil
Location:  The Big Carrot, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Cost:  Free
Symphony of the Soil is a feature film exploring the complexity and mystery of soil.  Sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.  The film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.  It is a film that will change you and your relationship with the soil 

2013 Organic Week:  September 21 – 28
Organic Week is a national celebration of organics in Canada.  Events will be held across the country to highlight the benefits of organic agriculture.  
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
noon – 1 pm
Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa
Location: outside St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St. East, Toronto
Bring your banners, your voices and together we can stop the release of GM alfalfa.
Spread the word!
Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) alfalfa could be registered for use in Eastern Canada this April! GM Roundup Ready alfalfa varieties have just been cleared for the last step before they hit the market – all they need now is a final rubber-stamp by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Alfalfa is used to produce many of the foods we eat! Alfalfa (commonly harvested as hay) is high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry and pigs. It’s also used to build nutrients in the soil and is important for organic farming.
Because alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, genetically modified alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa because of the threat of contamination, so now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada.

Friday, February 15, 2013
7:00 pm
Symphony of the Soil:  Toronto premiere
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Cost:  $10 (tickets at the door, no advance tickets)
The director of the film, Deborah Koons Garcia, will be present.
Symphony of the Soil is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil.  Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.  Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.  Yet most people are soil-blind and “treat soil like dirt.”  Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

Monday, January 7, 2013
6:45 – 8:00 pm
Urban Farming in Cuba
Location:  Pape Public Library, 701 Pape Ave., Toronto
Cost:  pwyc
Alia Karim, a student at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University, will present her Masters thesis research on urban agriculture in Cuba.  This research is of interest to anyone involved in local and urban food movements as well as organic farming and gardening.  Her presentation will be followed by Q&A.

Support Rachel’s Walk
Saturday, November 3, 2012
10:00 am
Kids Right to Know March
Location:  from Dundas Square (33 Dundas St. East) to St. Lawrence Market (95 Front St. East)
The studies are in!  The first GM animal feeding trial to be conducted over the lifetime of laboratory rats tested Monsanto’s GM corn NK603 (approved in Canada in 2001) and their herbicide Roundup and found tumours, multiple organ damage and premature death. (Séralini, G.-E., et al. “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.” Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012).  Once again, we need to make a statement that using GMOs is one of the biggest experiments on us and future generations to come, and it’s an experiment fraught with concerns.  Join us in the Kids Right to Know Walk in support of California’s Proposition 37, a November 6 ballot measure asking for clear labels to let consumers know if food is genetically modified.  Kids and parents welcome.  Please dress in black and bring a sign in support of GMO Labeling.

COG Toronto is a co-presenter at the 13th Annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, October 10–14, at TIFF Bell Lightbox.  Here are the details of the film we are co-presenting.
Sunday, October 14. 2012
12:00 pm
In Organic We Trust
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West, Cinema 2
This is the Toronto premiere.  In Organic We Trust is an eye-opening exposé on the food industry.  Director, Kiplin Pastor goes on a personal and investigative journey across America to find the true meaning of the word “organic.”  What began as a grassroots movement of small-scale farmers has turned into a $30 billion industry in which small, diversified organic farms have been replaced by large corporate operations and the “certified organic” label has become a marketing tool.  Hearing from farmers, organic certifiers, scientists and organic critics, the film reveals that in spite of the corporatization of organic, the original grassroots philosophy is making a comeback in many innovative forms.  Digging deep to explore the content beneath the label and the truth behind the marketing, In Organic We Trust takes a balanced approach to clear up misconceptions about organic food while highlighting practical solutions that are transforming the way we grow and eat.  Winner of the Golden Palm Award, Mexican International Film Festival.

2012 Organic Week:  September 22 – 29
Organic Week is a national celebration of organics in Canada.  Events will be held across the country to highlight the benefits of organic agriculture.  For info and a listing of events in your area, please visit  

Toronto Events
Sunday, September 23, 2012
10:45 am – 6 pm – rain or shine
Sosnicki Organic Family Farm and Schibli Organic Farm Tours
Departure:  The Big Carrot, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Cost:  $55 adults and $40 children under 12
The trip includes transportation, a light lunch, a tour of Sosnicki’s vegetable fields, a wagon ride to Schibli’s farm to see how they produce their organic milk.  Farm snacks and refresments will be served.  A wonderful opportunity to get to know your local organic farmers!

Monday, September 24, 2012
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Silent Spring, Silent Fall:  Our Toxic World
Location:  George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place, Toronto
Cost:  Free
Fifty years after Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published, toxins continue to pollute our air, water and food.  Join us for a discussion on Rachel Carson’s legacy and how to help change the toxic world we live in, with guest speakers:  Dr. Patricia DeMarco, Director, Rachel Carson Institute, Chatham University, Pittsburgh and Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence and co-author of Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
12 – 1 pm
Moving Organic into the Mainstream: an interactive workshop with Dr. Patricia DeMarco
Location:  Carrot Common, Room 212, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto (Book City entrance)
Cost:  free
This is a lunch ‘n learn session.  Bring your lunch or purchase lunch from the Big Carrot organic deli.
We are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for an interactive workshop with Dr. Patricia DeMarco.  What is the process of moving organic and sustainable agriculture into the mainstream?  What are the institutional barriers to making non-chemical food systems the mainstream choice?  As we acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a book that is often credited with launching the environmental movement, we are pleased to have Dr. DeMarco from the Rachel Carson Institute.  Dr. DeMarco started her career at Yale University in biochemical genetics research and at Boston University School of Medicine in mutation mechanisms.  She then moved to energy and the environment working for the government of Connecticut and later regulatory agencies in Alaska.  She returned to academia as Associate Dean in Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska before becoming Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association.   She is presently the Director of the Rachel Carson Institute in the School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Community Garden Tour
Location:  north side of Dundas St. East, east of Coxwell, on Police Division 55 property (101 Coxwell)
Meet in front of the police station and we’ll walk around the corner to the garden
Cost:  free
Join us for a visit to COG member Barrie Gray’s community garden.  Community gardens are popping up all across the city.  They are a great way for folks who don’t have land to have the chance to grow.  They are also a way to learn from, share and connect with other gardeners.  Learn the ins and outs of community gardens.  It’s not too early to plan ahead.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012
6 – 9:30 pm
Ontario Organic Dinner Party Series
Location:  Carrot Green Roof, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto (roof of The Big Carrot)
Cost:  $78 OCO members; $85 non-OCO members
3-course organic meal, complimentary organic wine & beer, live music

Friday-Saturday, September 28-29, 2012
10 am – 6 pm
Customer Appreciation Day at ShaSha
Location:  20 Plastics Ave., Toronto
Celebrate Organic Week with your favourite local snaps!  ShaSha Co. supports sustainable business practices, particularly in the areas concerning the environment, community, and local farming.  Learn about our business practices and how we reduce our carbon footprint.  Refreshments and snacks will be provided.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012
11 am – 4 pm
Organic Roadshow
Location:  parking lot of Organic Garage, 579 Kerr St., Oakville
Cost:  Free
The Organic Council of Ontario is celebrating Organic Week with this one-day event featuring barbequing and sampling organic foods – Fieldgate organic sausages, Neal Brothers salsa and Organic Meadow’s yoghurts.  Learn about the latest in organic news and research, celebrate the good things that grow organically in Ontario, nominate your favourite company, leader or farmer for an Ontario Organic Award.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012
1 – 4 pm
The Big Carrot 3rd Annual Organic Week Harvest Party
Location:  The Big Carrot Courtyard, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Join us for a celebration of this year’s organic harvest.  Chat with your local organic farmers and enjoy tasty organic food samples straight from the farm as well as drinks from our organic juice bar.  This party is sure to be the perfect wrap-up to a festive week of organic specials, demos and draws at The Big Carrot in honour of Organic Week 2012.
COG Toronto will have a booth at the show promoting organic growing and eating.

Sunday, May 29, 2012
mid-morning to afternoon
Wicklow Way Farm Visit
Cost:  early seasonal greenhouse vegetables etc. will be available for purchase
Bring a picnic lunch
Wicklow Way Farm is a certified organic farm, certified to the Canadian Organic Standard.  There are three acres under cultivation on which a large variety or heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown.  There is also small livestock including ducks, chickens and dairy goats.  But that’s not all. The farm also has an artisan kitchen, woodcraft studio, bread oven and bee hives.  Farmers Elaina Asselin and Gregory Hill are happy to welcome us to their farm and introduce us to the many projects they have underway.  They will also help us better understand some of the challenges and rewards of being certified organic in southern Ontario.  There is an option to visit a second farm.