The Ventura Unified School District
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We make healthy plants our main pest prevention strategy. This includes rich soil, proper watering, appropriate plant selection and adequate spacing. Frequent pest monitoring is a part of our garden duties and/or curriculum. We have a form to fill out if pests are discovered. We watch the pests over time to see if their numbers increase or if they disappear on their own. We hand-pick most pests and diseased leaves when possible, and we throw them in the garbage and not in the compost pile. We never bring or use pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides etc) from home. We never mix any materials, no matter how safe, to kill or control pests. If there is a need for pesticides we notify the district to have a trained staff person apply a district approved pesticide, and we make sure everyone is notified according to VUSD policy and state law. We do not permit any pesticide application (herbicides, insecticides, etc) within six feet of our gardens. We do not allow parents or other volunteers to apply pesticides of any kind at any time. No pesticides were or will be used in the preparation, building or expansion of this garden without specific IPM Committee approval. This includes the clearing and maintaining of paths and mulched areas. If mulch is used on paths without a weed barrier it has been applied at least 4 to 6 inches deep. If a weed barrier (cardboard, paper, woven synthetics) is used on the paths it has been placed on weed-free soil, is lower on all points than the edges (so mulch will not slide off), is secured every 8 inches with soil staples, and is covered by at least 2 inches of mulch. There is a written plan and budget in place for the maintenance of the paths and surrounding areas. If mulch is used it is weed-free and contains material that is diseasefree. This is determined by a statement on the bag, or a statement from the supplier, or by approval of the garden coordinator. There is a solid barrier around the garden area or garden beds that is buried at least six inches deep to discourage grass from creeping into the garden. We do not have any treated lumber (wood with small holes closely punched in regular patterns) anywhere in the garden area. Every soil, compost, amendment or fertilizer that we add anywhere in the garden area has a statement on the bag, or a statement from the supplier, or is approved by the garden coordinator that: • It is free of weed seeds, chemical contaminants, trash.
• It is approved for the production of food for human consumption. 20 This pledge is posted on-site, and all parents, students, and volunteers have been made aware of it 19
Site Garden Coordinator District Garden Coordinator
Date District IPM Coordinator
Healthy Garden Pledge Purpose
Notes A ‘pest’ is a living organism that interferes with your objectives – a gopher in the mountains is not a pest, but one in your garden certainly is. A ‘pesticide’ is a chemical used to kill, repel, destroy a living organism. Since a ‘pest’ could be a weed, insect, gopher, disease or other type of living organism, a ‘pesticide’ could be an ‘herbicide’ (kills weeds), ‘insecticide’, ‘rodenticide’, ‘fungicide’, or other. When we refer to ‘pesticides’ we mean any chemical that kills anything, not just insects. Pesticide use in schools is regulated both by California law and by the Ventura Unified School District. It is against both state law and VUSD policy for you to use any chemical designed to kill or repel a pest in this garden or anywhere on campus. This includes soap or vinegar or baking soda that you bring from home, as well as labeled pesticides you might buy at a hardware store or bring from home. State law and the VUSD policy allow for pesticides to be used in and around your garden, but only if: • The material is approved by your district IPM Committee • It is a applied by fully trained staff members • The school community is properly noticed according to established guidelines. Every material we add to the soil has a statement on the bag, or a statement from the supplier, or is approved by the garden coordinator that: It is free of weed seeds, chemical contaminants, trash It is approved for the production of food for human consumption Many affordable soil amendments are actually by-products of other processes, including manures and animal bedding, mushroom growing substrate, and greenwaste. While the recycling of these materials is important, some may not be appropriate for use in a school garden. Spent mushroom compost and bio-solids are not recommended for vegetable production unless there is a statement from the manufacturer that specifically states that it is free of contaminants and pathogens. Manures may carry residues of worming and other veterinary medicines unless properly composted. Animal bedding and greenwaste may contain contaminants such as treated lumber, plastic, metal or glass. However, the garden coordinator may be familiar with a source of high quality and consistent material that is appropriate for use and where a statement by the manufacturer is not available (for example, a neighbor’s farm or stable, or a reliable tree trimming service). This should be judged on a batch-by-batch basis.