About us


Growing Up Organic is a garden based educational program for children and youth, delivered by COG OSO in the City of Ottawa.

GUO partners with schools to support the establishment of school garden programs as the basis for experiential education at all grade levels. We provide educators with the essential tools to start these initiatives with confidence and ongoing support. Our garden-based workshops, delivered on-site at school gardens and made available online, provide teachers with building blocks and a model for integrating hands-on food literacy into their pedagogy.

GUO is focused on empowerment, 

through our strategic focus on education, we hope to foster a generation of children and youth with

greater food literacy, life-long healthy eating habits, increased food skills and an understanding of local and global environmental issues.

We are also part of the Ottawa School Food Network which consists of non-profit agencies and community initiatives working to increase Good Food within schools city-wide.



Canadian Organic Growers envisions a regenerative and resilient food and farming system across Canada. COG provides education, advocacy and leadership to help build an agricultural system that empowers farmers and consumers, enhances human health, builds community and mitigates climate change while increasing Canadian food sovereignty.


Over the last 30 years COG Ottawa, and now COG Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais (or COG OSO for short), has been delivering programs and services for farmers, gardeners, educators, and people who care about healthy food and healthy environments. As a regional chapter of a registered national charity, COG OSO focuses its work on providing primarily educational services.


Nathalie Drummond

Growing Up Organic Program Manager

Nathalie joined COG, as the GUO program manager in February 2022. She has a keen interest in hands-on learning and food sovereignty. Nathalie started her career working with animals but soon came to realize that her true passion is the environment and our responsibility towards it. With a background in environmental studies and biology she ran her own small scale CSA farm, C’est La Vie Farm in Ottawa. After having 2 children of her own she has become more aware of the disconnect that can sometimes happen between children and our food system. Nathalie is excited to be a part of the Growing Up Organic team, contributing to helping our next generation getting their hands dirty and enjoying it too, all the while learning more about human and planet health along the way!

Marie Josee Laviolette


Marie-Josée is first off a great enthusiast of delicious tasting local foods. Throughout her years as an amateur food and herb grower, she has been most interested in vermicomposting and its black gold (worm poop!); not surprisingly, she believes in the power of brewing compost tea for the garden! Marie-Josée has worked on organic farms in the USA, Canada and in Taiwan. Recently, she has been very inspired by the rad diversity of grass-root projects in the Ottawa region! She is your benevolent workshop facilitator for Spring 2022.

Favourite Tree: Sugar Maple
Favourite Vegetable: Celery Root
Favourite Wild Flower: Black-Eyed Susan
Favourite Bird: Chickadee
Favourite fruit: Dried Apricot
Favourite mushroom: Portabello

Rachel Murphy


Rachel is currently serving as the Volunteer Director of Growing Up Organic while pursuing her Bachelor of Education at Trent University. She is passionate about urban gardening and is looking forward to integrating environmental experiential learning in her future classrooms. Rachel strongly believes in food justice and that access to nutritious local food is something that all children should have. Rachel shares Growing Up Organic’s commitment to empowering learners to care for the earth and local food systems through gardening and stewardship. In her free time, you might find Rachel exploring a forest, swimming and hiking in nearby nature.

Favourite Tree: Buttonwood
Favourite Vegetable: Delicata Squash
Favourite Wild Flower: Trout Lily
Favourite Bird: Blue Heron
Favourite fruit: Redhaven Peach
Favourite mushroom: Chanterelles

Our advisory board

Our advisory board brings together a group of teacher leaders and community workers from the Ottawa area who care deeply about food literacy and want to ensure a place for this alternative type of teaching/learning for future generations.

Alissa Campbell

photo of Chloe Laberge - advisor to Growing Up Organic

Chloé Laberge

David Farlay

Dominique Patnaik

Michelle Richardson

Rachel Murphy

Stephen Skoutajan