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Pesticide-Free Soil Project

Healthy Soil for All!

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The EFC’s Environmental Justice Learning and Action Project (EJLAP) focuses on ways young people can learn about environmental justice, not only through focused workshops and research but by participating directly in community events to address social justice issues.

In 2019, the Ventura County Pesticide-Free Soil Project (PFSP) evolved from a collaboration with EFC alums, local schools and community-based organizations shining a light on the issue of pesticide-use at school sites and its impact on people in the surrounding neighborhoods.

A core of local EFC alums plus 2019-20 Encampers are engaged in more training and organizing experience in conjunction with our organizational partners: Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Abundant Table, El Rio School District, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), the Public Health Institute, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE).

PFSP’s “Compost Tea Parties” started the process of creating the first – and second – pesticide-free schools on the Oxnard Plain, which immediately helped improve soil and air quality for the surrounding community. That area has one of the highest pollution levels in the state, due to pesticide use.

Due to COVID-19, the EFC pivoted to make the summer intensive virtual and activities in Ventura County safe for the young people and the other community members.

Under the leadership of Florencia Ramirez, the PFSP Director, the PFSP continued during the spring and summer of 2020. Juna Rosales Muller joined the team in fall of 2020 as the Internship Director. PFSP responded particularly to COVID-19 by working with projects and initiatives addressing food insecurity, pesticides, farmworker health and policy work on the use of pesticides in Ventura County and throughout the state of California.

The interns have helped to develop and implement a survey in the form of informal focus groups with farmworkers conducted by Achieving Resilient Communities (ARC)–Ventura County, a project of the Public Health Institute. They are currently surveying parks in farmworker areas for "cool spaces" and other health and safety issues related to climate change and COVID-19.

The interns are documenting what they are learning and interviewing people for use in developing and executing a ONE HEALTH social media environmental justice campaign, discussing concepts such as climate change, carbon sequestration, soil health, human health, farmworker health, pesticide use and water scarcity, as well as illuminating a path forward.


APRIL 22: The Pesticide Free Soil Project will be featured in the 2021 Santa Barbara Virtual Earth Day on April 22 at noon PT. The PFSP will air a 15-minute film produced especially for the event. Florencia Ramirez, former SB Earth Day Environmental Hero, author, and director of the PFSP will emcee the first-day of a three-day program. Special guests include Santa Barbara poet laureate, Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, musician and environmental activist, Kenny Loggins, and many other voices ready to inspire positive acts of change.

Visit the SB Earth Day website for the schedule of events and for the link to join the celebration.

MAY 23:

The Encampment of Citizenship (EFC) Social Justice in Action Zoom Series will present The Other Strawberry Festival: Stories of People, Land and Resistance, a virtual gathering about food system justice, on Sunday, May 23, 2021, at 1 p.m. PT / 2p.m. MT/ 3 p.m. CT/ 4 p.m. ET, hosted by the Pesticide-Free Soil Project.

Young Artists and Poets: As part of the Other Strawberry Festival, we are calling on poets and artists 22 years of age and younger to submit works of poetry and visual art. Young poets and artists are asked to respond to either or both of these questions in their creative works: What are your or your family’s stories of food system injustice and resistance? What do you see when you imagine a future with a more just food system? Through this contest, we hope to raise visibility for stories of food system injustice and imagine new possibilities for a more-just food system. To enter the contest, visit the link below and submit your original work.

Winners will receive prizes from Patagonia, a financial sponsor of the Pesticide-Free Soil Project, and share their entries at the Other Strawberry Festival. The deadline for submissions is May 10.

Click here to enter the contest.

Click here to RSVP.