It had been an exceedingly busy week, yet not an unusual one for Food For Thought’s Executive Director Lori Hamor. After our finance committee meeting that morning Lori and I were reviewing the budget for final approval, rewriting staff contracts, and discussing new garden based curriculum to address the drought while preparing the agenda for our evening board meeting. It wasn’t until I got up to leave that Lori casually mentioned she was receiving The Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions Earth Charter Award for Ecological Integrity that weekend!! A well deserved honor! (Yvon Chouinard was the first recipient in 2003!) This was not an oversight on Lori’s part. It is a reflection of her approach to her work with Food For Thought. Lori consistently underplays her own importance and emphasizes the essence of the work we are doing together. Lori joined Food For Thought in early 2004 as a volunteer. At the time she and her husband Grady were parents of two daughters, a kindergartner and a 3 year old. They moved to Ojai from the Bay Area where Lori had been inspired by the work of Alice Waters and the Farm to School movement when it was in its was in its infancy. Lori started as a weekly salad-bar volunteer, helping students move through the lunch line and discussing their new fresh food choices. As her connection to the organization grew, she began recruiting other parents to help establish Food for Thought’s programs at all Ojai elementary schools. In 2005 Lori was hired as the FFT Program Coordinator and worked closely with the board to pilot Food For Thought’s Green and Healthy Schools program. Since Lori took over as Executive Director in the Winter of 2010 she has consistently led Food for Thought in building cooperative partnerships with OUSD. Lori has insured success by remaining dedicated to the well being of the students and respectful of the values of all the participants and staff. Her kindness, creativity, flexibility and quiet determination have led to the expansion of our 5 core programs, increasing our ability to support shared values. Through Lori’s exceptional collaborative skills Food For Thought has formed creative community alliances with other groups including the Nordhoff Environmental Field Studies Class, The Center For Regenerative Agriculture, The Ojai Valley Green Coalition, Patagonia Provisions, Ojai Rotary, Oak Grove School, The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Whole Kids Garden Grants and many Parent Teacher Organizations. Together with these essential partners, we continue to work to support the health of our students, our community and our planet. The Earth Charter principles for Ecological Integrity call on citizens to “protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life; to adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being; and to advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge acquired.” Our own Lori Hamor has surely promoted and maintained these principles. We are grateful indeed to have her as our executive director, our colleague and our friend.