“If I had nowhere to go in the world, I would come to Ojai. I would sit under an orange tree; it would shade me from the sun, and I could live on the fruit.” ~ Krishnamurti
Patty Pagaling, Executive Director
Back in 1979, Patty came to Oak Grove School to hear Krishnamurti speak. Ever since, the magic of Ojai remained with her. Over the years, she occasionally visited Ojai for special events and memorable hikes.
Patty lived in Santa Ynez, California and worked as a credentialed teacher for many years, participating in planning and development activities of the Blackbird Foundation, coordinating the teaching program, acting as Secretary/Treasurer, working closely with the Board of Directors.
In 2006, she found her home in Matilija Canyon and is so grateful to witness the flight of the blue heron, watch the deer cross the road and hear the creek flowing after a good rain. (She’s looking forward to the time when the creeks and rivers will fill up and we can all sigh a sigh of relief and gratitude!)
A difficult challenge for her came when Ventura County began spraying in the canyon in 2007 with an herbicide mixture (glyphosate with a surfactant and colorant) through what looked like fire hoses. She became sick after being caught in a toxic drift from the spraying, and reached out to the Ojai community for help. There were many others who were concerned about the spraying in the canyon, as well as pesticide applications in the east end orchards. She heard from people whose health, as well their children’s and pets’ health, had been negatively effected by exposure to pesticides and herbicides.
Patty and other community members came together in July 2008 and formed “Pesticide Free Ojai Valley” (http://pesticidefreeojaivalley.org/blog/). Gardeners, farmers, artists, medical professionals, technology experts, office workers and other folks from all walks of life came to our meetings, sharing an interest in reducing the use of toxic substances in both their personal and shared environments, through peaceful and educational means.
In 2011, the name of the organization was changed to “Transition to Organics”, continuing to provide resources, support and inspiration for gardeners and farmers in the Ojai Valley, as they consider alternatives to using herbicides, pesticides and rodenticides in their farming practices.
Patty is working with Marian Farms (http://www.marianfarmsbiodynamic.com), offering Sacred Cow Biodynamic Compost to bring balance to the ecosystem and heal the soil. She lives with her 2 rescue dogs, Zack and Charlotte and tends her garden in the canyon biodynamically.
Sue Williamson, Treasurer
Sue has lived in Ojai for several years and is also the president of the Ojai Wildlife League. Her tireless commitment to protecting wildlife and the environment is deeply appreciated. http://www.ojaiwildlife.com
Basia Kenton, Director, Education & Outreach
Basia is a gardener and landscape designer. She designs lush, romantic gardens that are also ecologically balanced. For the past 20 years Basia has guided her clients on how to create a healthy vibrant toxin free garden environment, with special focus on waterwise strategies and drought resistant polinator -friendly plants and lawns. For the past 5 years she has successfully applied the wisdom of biodynamic farming technology to urban gardens.
Her experience with Biodynamics informs her work and gives her the expertise to show others how to get started. http://basiakenton.com
Alicia Tharp, Secretary
Alicia is the owner of Ideal Seafood in Mira Monte. To read more about Alicia, please visit: http://www.idealseafoodojai.com/ourstory.html
Steve Sprinkel, Advisory Board Member
Everyone knows Steve in Ojai… The Farmer of “Farmer and the Cook”… who supplies the community with delicious farm fresh produce at the store and through his CSA! http://www.farmerandcook.com
Steve is also a board member of the Ecological Farming Association and President of the Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture.