Michelle LopezCEO & Master Fermentor
Michelle grew up in the Ojai Valley, at the age of 18 she left to pursue her academic hopes and dreams. She earned a bachelors degree in Zoology and a minor in Botany and started her career as a wildlife biologist. Consulting throughout southern California with a handful of federal permits to survey for endangered species.
Butterflies quickly became a passion and eventually gained status as a southern California butterfly specialist. Still living in Los Angeles, the “concrete jungle” and with a small child in hand, she felt drawn back to Ojai.
Deepening her ties with the native land, through hiking, farming, gardening, yoga and being in community, she started the Ojai Food Co-op. The need for “access to healthy foods for all” became her mission. Hosting food workshops out of her home, private residences, natural food grocery stores, and at local food and community events throughout California.
Her passion of empowering people to preserve healthy foods transformed into fermenting in-season veggies and fruit that help aid in digestion and strengthen the immune system. All the while optimizing the bounty of local produce grown and received here as a southern California resident. She is most fulfilled when her hands are close to the earth, chopping raw foods on a wooden board, crafting nourishing foods. This is what brings her life value.
It is her intention to reignite the connection we once had with the land, animals and the microorganisms that live all around us. She does this by hand-cutting all the raw foods with love and ferments are aged much like a fine wine, meticulously looked after for up to 28 days in glass vessels. She has her own naturalist-probiotic twist on fermented foods and drinks.
Mikhael’s background is in medical science and the arts, with a national certification in Respiratory Therapy. After experiencing the allopathic medical system firsthand, he found that there was more to the picture than just drugs having opposite effects to symptoms and that the current approach to chronic dis-ease is insufficient. That’s when he started a journey to find health; beginning with his feet, and pollinating into a myriad of topics and experiments.