Ojai Valley Wide Discussion

We were asked to participate in the Ojai Valley Wide Discussion Oct 23, 2011, a very encouraging gathering with Supervisor Bennett at Camp Comfort.  Our group was asked to put together a list of next steps to make theOjai Valley a model green and sustainable community.

For the Ojai Valley Wide Discussion                                                                                                                                                                       Our suggestions for additional steps needed for making the Ojai Valley a model green and sustainable community:

1. Encourage and support City, County, and State maintenance departments, landscapers, gardeners, farmers and orchard owners in our valley by offering information about cost effective, nontoxic alternatives to pesticides (which include herbicides).

2. Offer formal education programs, with obligatory participation by certain members of facilities management, including schools and parks.  Learn from local professionals who are already using nontoxic remedies in their landscape management.  Learn from other cities that are successfully using nontoxic alternatives to pesticides and herbicides, such as Arcata, California.


3. Eliminate spraying of toxic herbicides, using site-specific, efficient and timely use of safe alternatives, such as vinegar, flame torching (in spring, when weeds are just emerging), mulching, sheet mulching, utilizing goats as weed control, and other alternative methods.

4. Support biodiversity and grow healthy soil, thereby allowing the ecosystem to regenerate, and eliminate the need to use toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  According to a USDA study, researchers show that Organic Farming Enhances Biodiversity and Natural Pest Control:


5. Create a dialogue about the weed control issues facing the county and have some community input in the process. Indiscriminate use of pesticides is detrimental to the health of the community.  People are getting spayed in the face (without their knowledge and consent) as they are driving or walking on the bike path where county sprayers are using pesticides along the side of the road.

6. Encourage local enforcement agencies to police and ticket Pesticide Applicators (landscapers/gardeners) whom do not have current Pesticide Applicator Licenses (either QAL, QAC, or Q) and are transporting unsecured/unlabeled pesticides in their commercial vehicles. A visit to any local landfill will present up to 50 of these unlicensed contractors an hour.

Date: Fri, Sep 23, 2011

Subject: Transition to Organics input for Ojai Valley Wide Discussion

To: Steve Bennett

Dear Steve,

We look forward to participating in the Ojai Valley Wide DIscussion, and would like to have a table (or perhaps a booth) at the event.  I have already spoken with Cindy and RSVP’d.

Please see our response to the questions below (and also attached as a document).

If you need me to shorten up the response as bullet points, please let me know.

Accomplishments toward Making the Ojai Valley a Model Green and Sustainable Community:

Transition to Organics has sponsored two successful, well-attended conferences this year. We also sponsored, along with Denise Ritchie (Malibu Compost), the screening of an important documentary, Queen of the Sun, What Are the Bees Telling Us, at the Ojai Theater, with the filmmaker Taggart Siegel and Ed Begley Jr. hosting the event.  Courtney Cole (Grounded by Nature), and Kim Ainsworth (owner of Redtail Ranch) joined us in sponsoring the after event, which was a memorable community gathering honoring the bees and beekeepers.  Organic and biodynamic farmers donated time, food and energy to prepare delicious dishes and treats for this incredible gathering.

The most notable results of our efforts is that we were instrumental in inspiring a Ventura County orchard to begin the transition to organics!  The orchard manager also manages other orchards, and we are hopeful that the success of this first orchard will spur the manager on to begin transitioning the others!

Our Transition to Organics Team includes Steve Sprinkel (Farmer & the Cook, Gozo Farm),  Matt Boeck (organic horticulturist and pest control advisor), and Gena Nonini (biodynamic expert and land manager for Marian Farms).  They are available for consultation and advice on how to best begin and follow through with transitioning to organics.

Also, because of the Queen of the Sun event, we have a newly formed Beekeepers Club meeting at the community meeting room next to Farmer and the Cook, monthly, as announced.  80 people are signed up in the club and 40 actually showed up for the first meeting.  The room was buzzing with enthusiasm in support of creating bee friendly, sustainable landscaping, backyards, orchards and agriculture in our valley.

Update:  We just got news that one of the attendees of the Queen of the Sun event (an orchard owner in San Diego County) who was inspired by the message of the movie, is in the first steps of transitioning!  Also: a local orchard manager and a golf course manager are seeing results with the biodynamic compost soil amendment, and are moving ahead in testing larger areas on the properties they manage.

Current Efforts or Future Plans in this area:

Transition to Organics is continuing to educate and inspire community members to honor the bees and support our local, sustainable farmers and fruit growers.  Transition to Organics has already spread to Carpinteria, where a community group, Carpinteria Transition 2 Organics, has formed!

We are planning the next Transition to Organics conference, details TBA.   We invite the whole community to participate!

Please visit our website:  www.sustainableojai.org

This website includes a resource page for all local sustainable organizations to send information and events to be posted.

Thank you,

Patty Pagaling

Executive Director, Transition to Organics

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Steve Bennett

Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011

Subject: Ojai Valley Wide Discussion Update – Invitation & Request for Input

Re:      Ojai Valley Wide Discussion – 5 Year Update Meeting                                                  October 23, 2011

Dear Patty,

Five years ago we held a series of Ojai Valley Wide Discussion meetings at Nordhoff High School.  We worked together and agreed on two priority areas of focus that would have a positive impact on the Ojai Valley.  Those two areas were “making the Ojai Valley a model green and sustainable community” and “disaster preparation, including CERT training.”

On Sunday, October 23, 2011 from 2-5:30 p.m. I will be hosting a follow up to these meetings at Camp Comfort County Park.   One of the goals of the meeting is to present some of the accomplishments made in making the OjaiValley a model green and sustainable community and/or disaster preparation, including CERT training.

Our understanding is that Transition to Organics has played a role in moving the community forward on one or both of these objectives.   We would like to present your efforts toward either or both of these objectives since the lastValley Wide meeting 5 years ago as well as efforts you are currently working on or plan to focus on in the future on those two issues.  Because there are many organizations that are working toward these goals and we have limited time, we plan to present this information to the group in a written, Powerpoint or other summary-type manner.

 It would be wonderful if you or your representative could be available at the meeting to individually answer questions from the participants after the information has been presented.

I have attached a questionnaire about your organization.  If it works for your schedule, it would be helpful for you to return it to my office by September 23, 2011.  Please feel free to use the either the attached “fillable” form or the word document – whichever works best for you.

In addition, if you would like to set up a display or information table about your organization, we will have room outdoors, adjacent to the building and BBQ area, for you to provide brochures, display information about your projects, provide membership information, etc.  We have tables available.  If you prefer, you are welcome to bring your own and/or a pop-up shade awning.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Cindy Cantle at my office 654-2703 or cindy.cantle@ventura.org

I sincerely hope that you will be able to participate in this update to the OjaiValley Wide Discussion.  Thank you for your dedicated efforts to make the OjaiValley a model green and sustainable community. 


Steve Bennett                                                                                                              

Supervisor, First District    


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