THE FOOD FOR THOUGHT OJAI STORY

2002

Initial meetings between Marty Fujita, Jim Churchill, and Steve Fields to discuss starting a farm to school program in Ojai.

2003

  • FFT’s first salad bar launched at Topa Topa to overwhelming response, followed by Meiners Oaks and Mira Monte schools.
  • Nutrition education and Agricultural literacy program begin.

2004

  • Topa Topa students’ inaugural field trip to McGrath Farm.
  • First fundraising “Dinner and a Movie” featuring Tony Shalhoub held at Ojai Playhouse (sold out!).

2005

  • Salad bar, farm field trips and nutrition education components running smoothly at all elementary schools.
  • SOLD OUT fundraiser “Locally Grown” Concert featuring Jack Johnson (!), the Malloy Brothers and Ted Lennon held at Libbey Bowl.
  • First part-time Garden Coordinator hired and initiation of garden curriculum for K, 1st and 5th grades.

2006

  • FFT Steering Committee decides the organization should become a 501c3 nonprofit in order to more effectively and efficiently oversee grants and reporting.

2007

  • “Up and down the Wastestream” pilot project initiated at Topa Topa, Meiners Oaks elementary schools, and Nordhoff High School, with foundation grant support.
  • Films for Thought Series launched-Sold out screenings!
  • Locally Grown 2 fundraising concert held in Libbey Bowl headlining Perla Batalla, Brett Dennen, the Carrot Chorus and winners of the Battle of the Bands (Emy Reynolds, Philosophy, and Imaginative Clams).

2008

  • Topa Topa and Meiners Oaks garden clubs hold school farmers markets and sell-out all produce!
  • First farm field trips to Ojai local farms including Rio Gozo and Churchill Orchard.

2009

  • Green and Healthy Schools project initiated in partnership with OUSD made possible by significant funds from anonymous foundation grant.
  • Second installment of free Films for Thought series.
  • Locally Grown 3! Mason Jennings, Perla Batalla, Quetzal, and Culver City Dub Collective with special guest Jack Johnson-incredible event!

2010

  • Co-producer of Earth Day at Oak Grove School Annual Event.
  • Invited to be Village Green non-profit at Jack Johnson’s SB concert.

2011

Kevin White “Rows the Rainbow Bridge” to Anacapa to support Food for Thought Ojai.

2012

  • Bill Paxton, Claud Mann and Kevin Ruf combine talents to host Dinner and a Movie fundraiser.
  • Received Founders’ Award from Edible Communities in honor of FFTO Marty Fujita.
  • Kevin White and John Phaneuf row and paddle from SB to Ventura to raise funds for FFTO.
  • All 7 OUSD schools receive Green School award.
  • Green and Healthy School efforts to reduce milk waste featured on NPR’s Marketplace.
  • Farm to Table Dinner fundraising co-hosted with Besant Hill School.

2013

  • Ventura County Board of Supervisors award Food for Thought Ojai with the Health Champion Award-Healthy Family and Communities.
  • 10-year Anniversary at Knead Bakery and Topa Topa Elementary with Alice Waters.

2014

  • Joined VC Farm to School Collaborative workgroups.
  • Moved into office space shared with Ojai Valley Green Coalition.
  • Hosted Films for Thought part 3 with Nutrition Services dept.
  • Environmental Field studies students plant crops to be harvested for use in school meals.

2015

  • First 4th grade field trips to Poco Farms.
  • Installed Hydration Station at Nordhoff High Station.
  • Co-wrote updated Welllness Policy with the OUSD Green/Wellness Committee.