More than 500 students and community volunteers will come together MAY 31, 2023, to learn
how to create pesticide-free landscapes that sequester carbon and save water and will be
treated to a special pesticide-free lunch.

Oxnard, CA. — In response to global warming and the mega-drought gripping most of the
Southwest, Rio Del Norte Elementary School students will participate in a school-wide “compost
tea party” on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 to shower their school grounds with an all-natural
soil-enriching compost tea brew. Community experts and volunteers will guide 500
pre-kindergarten to 5th grade students to douse the school’s landscape, gardens, orchard and
play areas with the actively aerated compost tea in order to build healthy pesticide-free,
nutrient-rich soil that will better sequester carbon from the air and save water. Students will also
participate in 16 nature-based climate solution workshops led by experts from within the

“The goal of the compost tea party is to engage the community to eliminate petroleum-based
fertilizers and glyphosate pesticides, which the World Health Organization concluded in 2015
probably cause cancer in humans,” said Florencia Ramirez, Oxnard author of the book Eat Less
Water, activist podcaster and director of the Pesticide Free Soil Project, a youth-led
organization.. “Playgrounds, parks, and gardens are part of the solution to save water on this
planet, because healthy soil that is untreated with chemicals can hold water up to 1,000 times
more than treated soil. The compost tea party is an event to empower young people who want
to turn their hope for a healthy environment into action. ”

“This event is important because it supports youngsters to learn how to take action in their world
immediately through education and nature-based solutions,” said Rio Real principal Maria
Hernandez, PhD, whose school hosted a Compost Tea Party last spring on their campus. “Part
of our school’s philosophy is to have strong community partnerships that are long-lasting, and
this is an opportunity to begin a partnership that is grass-roots driven, where students are at the
center of the work.”

In addition to preparing the compost tea and applying it to the school’s landscape and garden,
students will learn about soil science from David White, PhD., the Executive Director of the
Center for Regenerative Agriculture in Ojai, beneficial bugs from Ron Whitehurst, owner of the
world-renowned Rincon-Vitova Insectaries in Ventura, and other topics related to soil, organic
food, compost, and decomposition from fourteen additional workshop leaders across the county from Ventura County Farm to School, Rio School District’s Farm to School, Oxnard Union High
School District’s Farm to School, Master Gardeners, Oxnard High School Food Service &
Hospitality Pathway, Once Upon a Watershed, SeeAg and FoodCorps.

The Oxnard High School Food Service & Hospitality students, led by teacher Ms. Debra
Gallagher are looking forward to working with the younger students. “Teaching kids how to
prepare healthy snacks using garden vegetables while conserving water will be a fun
challenge,” says junior chef Harley Louis. “When we run the blender bike workshop for the
students we will be teaching them about alternative forms of energy and how to make a healthy
drink at the same time,” says Elisa Barragan, senior Food Service student. This will be the
second time the Food Service students have volunteered for the Compost Tea Party. Alumni
and current college tutor for the program, Ms. Paula Perez, remembers her experience at the
Compost Tea Party as exciting, “to be able to teach the young students and see how well they
retained what they were learning.”

Students, staff, and volunteers will eat lunch made with locally-sourced ingredients planned and
prepared by Rio School District’s Child Nutrition Services.

The event is planned and facilitated by the following collaborators: Rio School District,
FoodCorps, Rio del Norte Elementary School, Center for Regenerative Agriculture, and the
Encampment for Citizenship (EFC). The EFC is a national non-profit created in 1946 to prepare
young people to be informed, responsible and effective global citizens; CALEPA provided
financial support for their engagement in this event.

The Compost Tea Party event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Rio del Norte is located at 2500
Lobelia Drive in Oxnard, CA.

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