Doc film trailer to Pesticides in the Watershed. Produced by Barrett Productions, Ventura, Ca. Please contact www.pesticidefreeojaivalley to support our educational media production work.
Patty Pagaling interviews Dr. Robin Bernhoft:
Poisons in Our Local Environment
Bennett speaks at organics conference
Marleen Luckman from OVNews
Feb 11, 2011
A “Transition to Organics” conference held last Friday at Meditation Mount in Ojai brought conventional and organic farmers and gardeners together to discuss the future of farming and pest control in the Ojai Valley.
Organic farmer Steve Sprinkel, the event’s master of ceremonies, welcomed the diverse group of participants that included Sunkist organic consultant Peter Ohsol, organic horticulturist Matt Boeck and Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett.
“I feel this has the potential to be an historic meeting,” Sprinkel said. “This was a very positive event and was really well attended. About 60 people were there. There was a lot of hope and optimism.”
Supervisor Bennett noted that Ojai is leading the way in his district with programs and activities, moving Ojai toward a goal of becoming a model green city. This conference was another step in that direction, he said.
Event organizer Patty Pagaling, who has worked as Pesticide Free Ojai Valley’s executive director, said she anticipates this will be a quarterly event. “I think it’s very important with this new group, to promote the positive impacts that organic farming can have for our community,” Pagaling said.
Sprinkel, the owner of Gozo Farm, president of the board of the Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture, and co-owner of The Farmer and The Cook, an organic grocery store, café, and bakery, praised presenter Matt Boeck’s concepts for making a slow transition to organics.
“This isn’t about making the transition overnight,” Sprinkel said. “It’s about testing it on a block of land and seeing the benefits and learning about organic farming. I really liked how Boeck made that point clear.”
Boeck, an organic horticulturist for Jay’s Landscapes, Inc. in Carpinteria and Upper Ojai resident, explained how insects and their predators interact with the immune systems of plants. He reinforced the idea that the predators to the insects that attack plants are an essential step in the food chain and the control of insect pests.
“It’s important to simply ask the conventional farmers to consider making the switch to organic practices,” Boeck said. “I tried to explain to them that they can use less fertilizer than they’re using now. They need to understand that it is possible to switch slowly to organic practices and have it be financially better for them.”
Peter Ohsol from the organics division at Sunkist gave the history on how the Sunkist Growers Organics Division came about, where its markets are, and how to get involved as an organic grower.
During the day there were discussions about having a farmer’s cooperative packing house in the Ojai Valley, and there were many questions about the different less toxic techniques presented at the meeting, like flaming for weed control, the effectiveness of using alternative safer sprays, current pest issues, and the use of beneficial insects.
The spirit of the conference was to showcase organic growing and nontoxic pest management techniques. There were a lot of questions and dialogue about the effectiveness and costs of organic farming.
“As we make the transition to organic farming practices more and more, then we can rebrand Ojai as an organic oasis,” Sprinkel said.
Chris T. Wilson contributed to this story.
February 11, 2011
Dear Transition to Organics supporters ~
Last Friday’s conference was really a wonderful gathering, and we’d like to continue the conversation with all those that are interested in learning and sharing more about successful ways of transitioning to organic farming/gardening.
We invite you to tell us about your particular concerns and challenges in transitioning to organics. For our next conference in a few months, we’d like to address these concerns and bring the information that will help us all in creating balanced, healthy ecosystems that support sustainable agriculture in the Ojai Valley.
We’d also like to hear from you about success stories and advice concerning organic pest management that we can share with the group.
For ant control, Matt Boeck has found that boric acid is very effective. He places plastic bottle caps filled with a mixture of boric acid, sugar and water near ant infestations. (If you decide to try this, be sure your pets don’t have access to the boric acid mixture.)
You can also buy ready made ant traps containing boric acid by Terro:
More info on boric acid for ant control can be found on this website:
For brown snail problems, Matt uses decollate snails.
Info on decollate snails:
Joanne Krantz uses the product “Tanglefoot”, a sticky barrier that can be applied to tree trunks to disrupt ants from farming aphids.
Steve Sprinkel uses organic soybean meal as an effective and nutritious mulch around plants and trees to discourage weeds. Also, the flame torch is effective in burning baby weeds before they get too big.
If you have particular product that you’d like to have available locally, you can contact Van Vermeesch at AquaFlo in Ojai and he will see if they can carry it. Van’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are putting together a DVD of the conference, to be available within the next week or two. (Thanks to Julie Latremouille, a Brooks Institute graduate, who donated her time to film the conference!) Many growers who were unable to make it to the conference expressed interest in getting a copy of the DVD. Let me know if you would like one too.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
~ Patty Pagaling
Protection of California Red-legged Frog from Pesticides
Stipulated Injunction and Order
Updates on Upper San Antonio Creek Watershed Arundo Removal Project. (vcwatershed.org). Click “What’s New” on the left side and scroll down to Project info.
First round of Glyphosate application pending in East End
Glyphosate and Surfactant application for Arundo is due to begin soon in the watershed on the East end of the Ojai Valley. This is the same action Ventura County has taken in the Matilija watershed. For information on how to action regarding this proposal, please review our Take Action page….
Known Carcinogen being approved for use on Ventura strawberry fields?
Methyl Iodide is a known carcinogenic and is being considered to fumigate agricultural lands, including strawberry fields in Ventura County. This article contains details and contact information for taking action.
Gypsy Moth Spraying in Ojai
On the morning of Saturday March 28, 2009, thugs from the California Department of Food and Agriculture showed up at the doors of residents in the Ojai Valley with a court order, armed police officers from the Sheriff Department and the California Highway Patrol, county photographers, and frightened and intimidated elders, jumped locked fences, and with a fleet of police cars and TruGreen pesticide trucks lining the road, forcibly hosed down people’s homes with the insecticide DiPel.
(click here to download the article in PDF)
About the spraying of Dipel in the Ojai Valley against Gypsy Moths
The California Department of Agriculture, the California Highway Patrol, and TruGreen ChemLawn forced entry onto Lynda Rader’s private property and sprayed the pesticide Dipel. Many of Lynda’s civil rights were violated.
Patty Pagaling, Founder of the Alliance for a Pestidice Free Ojai Valley, wrote this Letter to the Ojai Valley News, on June 26th, 2008
The Poisoning of the Watershed Continues…
(click here to download the article in PDF)
New greenhouse gas and toxin being used on farm fields in 4 states
Dow Chemical is pitching a new, known toxic chemical and astonishingly greenhouse gas for agricultural use in sterilizing soils in 4 states. Read the article in full and find contacts to address this issue here.
Ground Breaking Constitution in Ecuador
Ecuador’s new constitution gives Nature “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution” and mandates that the government “take precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles”.
The right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment on the basis of sustainable development is another collective right included in the constitution. It also specifies environmental protections which are deemed public interest, including the recovery of damaged natural spaces.