We started SE Essex Organic Gardeners (SEEOG) in 1994 after being inspired by both the team on the HDRA (Garden Organic) stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the books ‘Gardening Without Chemicals’ by Jack Temple and ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson. Our aim was to allow the individual organic gardener to place themselves in the wider environment in which we exist locally and globally.
The group emerged in the era of the Agenda 21 Biodiversity Action Plans that brought together like-minded people concerned with environmentalism, ecology and activism so there was considerable collaboration and networking. We worked with organisations such as the South Essex Natural History Society, permaculture groups, allotments, LETS (Local Exchange Trading Systems), Friends of the Earth, Surfers against Sewage, Greenpeace and anti-nuclear campaigns. We were all concerned with pollution and toxic effects on people, the unborn child and the environment at large.
SEEOG’s aims remain the same today. We are a web fed by and feeding those concerned with the ecology of our planet and our human impact on it. We aim to promote the organic way and a community response and reaction to develop resilience locally and globally. We meet every two months with talks on a wide range of topics, usually with a local connection; we also provide speakers for other organisations to help spread the word. During the year, we also arrange group outings, these days by car-share. We work in partnership with local charity Trust Links, who host our meetings and run the Growing Together Gardens with their core work for mental health and the environment.
The South East Essex Seed Potato Day is the highlight of our year. During the day we sell many different varieties of tubers, all supplied by the Norfolk Organic Group. The Essex Schools Food and Farming Day at Writtle College is a close second, followed by Apple Day at St Laurence Orchard, Eastwood. We also attend the annual Wassailing ceremony at the orchard, run family learning workshops and try to have a regular presence at Leigh Farmers’ Market, which offer a good way to earn extra cash for the group as well as engage with the general public. We aim to make ourselves available to give advice, encouragement and support.
Meetings are held six times a year in January, March, May, July, September and November at the Cheryl Centre, Growing Together Westcliff, 47 Fairfax Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9AG (corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase) from 19:00 until 22:00 hours. Our speakers start at 20:00.
Subscription is £8 for a Single Member or £12 for Family Membership. Family Membership includes members of one family living at the same address. Only one newsletter will be sent to each family. To cut down on costs we do not send out receipts but ensure that new members receive our current newsletter as soon as possible.
We offer free membership to schools.
If you’d like to find out more about SE Essex Organic Gardeners, please phone Carole Shorney on 01702 201914, who can give you information about the next meeting,