Every Home a Schoolhouse






On Earth Day 2020, a request letter was delivered to Governor Newsom on behalf of Regenerate Ojai and the residents of the Ojai Valley: to use his powers to immediately extend the prohibition and restrictions on pesticide application near schools to all of our homes, because during the COVID Stay-at-Home Orders, every home is a schoolhouse.



Actara, Danitol, Abamectin, Neonicotinoids, and Pyrethroids are all being sprayed in our valley. These Danger and Warning label toxic synthetic chemicals are promoted as “safe,” despite scientific evidence of their harm to our health and the environment. Most of these chemicals’ warning labels state that they can be fatal if inhaled or swallowed. We have the highest application of these chemicals per acre and per capita of any county in California.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies link these pesticides to harmful and sometimes fatal health effects. Our concern is not “hysteria” as some farmers have said of our movement in the local papers. Our concern is based on facts and science.

The “spraying season” is underway right now. The law states that farmers must not spray these pesticides and herbicides within ¼ mile of schools during school hours, and yet today while our children are schooling from home – farmers are spraying these neurotoxins with no regard for how these pest and weed-killing neurotoxins will affect us, our children and pets.

The law states that farmers must not spray when the wind is over 5 mph, but in the last year we have received countless videos of farmers doing just that.

Like the rest of us, one Ojai East End resident was at home two weeks ago with her husband and children when she heard a WWII-era fan sprayer blasting pesticides 30 feet up into the air with winds blowing at 8mph. Danitol, a lethal chemical linked to Parkinson’s, ALS, seizures and death in dogs, was being sprayed along her fence line, right next to their backyard. They immediately noticed red eyes, headaches, sore lungs and runny noses.

When she reported this to the Ventura County Ag Commissioner, they said that the farmer was within their right to spray and wanted to know if she uses chemical bleach or disinfectant. They suggested that her five daylong migraine and respiratory issues were due to anxiety and dehydration. Despite the fact that every house is a school during these days of the coronavirus, the Ag Commissioner’s office replied that, “the regulations restricting pesticide applications near schools applies to state-licensed child care facilities and public K-12 schools. Under the statewide shelter-in-place order, no public K-12 school is in operation. The regulation does not apply to private/homeschools or Family Day Care homes; and the shelter-in-place order does not alter the scope of this regulation to include them.”

This needs to change right now, amendments to laws are meant for times like these.

Drift doesn’t adhere to the agreed upon borderlines between farms and homes, or farms and schools, which are all mixed together in our valley. Drift affects us all and represents the modern day asbestos, Teflon, or the idea of smoking being safe or drinking while pregnant; all outdated and dangerous. In 20 years, we will look back and see this as our silent spring!

Over 1300 people in our community signed Regenerate Ojai’s petition requesting that farmers notify residents of the use of the chemicals before they are sprayed, but the farmers and county have refused despite our modern day technology making alerts very easy to do for the local community.  One of the benefits of having an alert 1-2 days before a neighboring farm is spraying, is residents have the option to leave the valley to protect themselves from drift. Currently residents have no alert and no ability to leave, forcing them to be exposed against their will.

It’s time we prioritize our children’s health. It’s only through your action that we can ensure our safety and the well being of our beautiful valley.

Please sign our petition and spread the word to encourage Governor Newsom to be the hero to protect our families, and especially our children.








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