Planting Justice Staff
Gavin raders - co-founder & Executive director
CO-FOUNDER, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION & CHAIR OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Haleh Zandi is a co-founder and the Educational Director of Planting Justice. Her approach towards the food justice movement particularly draws connections between the United States dependence upon fossil fuels within the industrialized and globalized food system and the unjust militarization of the Middle East and South Asia.
She believes the modern colonial food system is in a paradigm of war, and she is dedicated to the ways in which diverse communities may build alliances and practice strategies that collectively resist the violence of the industrial food system and structurally shift the United States towards more ecologically sustainable and socially just methods for growing and sharing our food.
She has taught over 200 workshops in our community gardens using Planting Justice's self-designed curriculum in food justice, culinary arts, and permaculture design. Haleh received her MA in Postcolonial Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Haleh is the proud mama of baby Azadeh.
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media & communications coordinator
Nicole is a media strategist, anti-racist organizer and prison abolitionist. A graduate of USC Film School, Nicole worked at Pixar and HBO before finding greater fulfillment in political work. In the last 5 years, Nicole has worked on campaigns to abolish solitary confinement, stop jail expansion, and protect families from displacement. Nicole believes that Planting Justice can play a role in ending mass incarceration, and is passionate about empowering her formerly incarcerated co-workers to tell their own stories.
paul sheldon - development director
Kelly Curry - educator
Kelly Curry is an author, publisher and social justice activist. She brings over 20 years of frontline, on the ground support of lower income communities of color through her development of life enhancing, ground shifting programs that promote health, well being and love.
A veteran of public and private foundation work in New York City, Kelly was influential in ushering in change around public children's after-school programming at the city level, which included development and successful operation of a living arts program for NYC Parks and Recreation Centers in Harlem. Through this program, Kelly worked with community kids to plant Harlem's first children's gardens.
Kelly continued this trajectory by delivering a living arts program to the the children of farm workers and homeless children in Southern California via The Living Love Foundation, where she acted as Director of Programming and Development.
Kelly is currently focused on engaging committed, creative, sustainable change around food access for the citizens of East and West Oakland. She does this work in partnership with Planting Justice where she is a proud member of the Education Team.
The Ed Team travels to prisons; high schools; elementary schools and street corners, sharing about the history of food systems in the US and blending and serving green smoothies.
Anthony Forrest - Educator
Bilal Coleman - Educator
Transform Your Yard Team
julio madrigal - Permaculture designer & site leader
salvador mateo - permaculture designer & site manager
My position at PJ requires me to be outside a lot. I’m a site manager for most jobs, and we’re just building gardens, just getting stuff done. The crew that I work with consists of men who have transitioned from prison to the outside, and we provide a job with a living wage of $17.50/hr. Growing up I didn’t have much access to healthy food. My mom worked two jobs, didn’t have much time to spend with me and my two sisters. She would give us $20 and tell us to get something eat. The fridge was full of food, but we didn’t know how to cook it. It was really expensive to get something healthy, as opposed to something that wasn’t healthy. Thanks to Planting Justice, we’re able to afford more quality food and know where it’s coming form - because I know that it’s growing in my own back yard. I love what I do. I love being on site, being outside. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Nicole wires - permaculture designer
Nicole Wires was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, where she made a promise to the mountains she loves to swim in every mountain stream, creak, river or lake that she comes across. While her paid work does not define her, she loves working with the Transform Your Yard Team at Planting Justice as a permaculture designer, designing sustainable, California native, and edible landscapes for clients all over the Bay Area. Her unpaid work includes organizing with the White Noise Collective, exploring the intersection of white privilege and gender oppression in the struggle for racial justice, and working to dismantle the prison industrial complex with the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Network and the Ella Baker Center. She also loves to garden, read, dance, climb, hike, play guitar, drum, and explore.
julius jones - permaculture landscaper
alejandra cano - Permaculture Designer
Alejandra Cano joined the Transform Your Yard team in August 2014. She has been contributing to the food justice movement in the Bay Area for several years and is very happy to now unite forces with Planting Justice. Alejandra grew up in Colombia and migrated to the United States as a teenager. She has kept close connection with her South American roots and has learned to flourish in community here in California. Alejandra studied Conservation & Resource Studies at the University of California Berkeley, minored in Sustainable Design & City Planning in Northern Europe, and has worked with food & social justice organizations such as the Oakland Food Policy Council, Food First, MESA, OTF, and Phat Beets Produce. Her experience in the U.S., Europe, and South America have made Alejandra very aware of the maladies and inequalities that stem from the industrialized and globalized food system. She's therefore committed to the cultivation of healthy, autonomous, and resilient communities around the world. Alejandra is passionate about healing in all its forms (mental, emotional, physical, trans-generational, +++) and tries to weave this into all her relations, include those she's co-creating at Planting Justice. Alejandra also enjoys making and sharing herbal medicine, cooking with friends, hanging out in nature, and building gardens!
Maurice "Big Moe" Bell - Permaculture Landscaper & Media Apprentice
Dana Mitchell - Landscaper & Contractor
darryl aikens - permaculture landscaper
George Britton - Permaculture Landscaper
Urban farms & Training Centers Team
Andrew Chahrour - Farm Manager
Andrew grew up in Ohio and got his BA in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, he was exposed to a variety of Midwestern agricultural systems, both conventional and organic. Andrew's degree in Environmental Studies led him to a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming where he researched the recession of Aspen stands, whose disappearance across the Western US has been poorly understood. After the completion of this assignment, Andrew moved to Boston where he co-founded ConsumerConscience, a wiki-based website devoted to ethical consumerism. Soon thereafter, Andrew moved to the Bay Area and began working with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture. After working with MESA for 3 years, Andrew changed jobs in favor of more hands-on work with Planting Justice. For the last 4.5 years, Andrew has been working with Planting Justice as a Permaculture Designer, designing and installing edible gardens for clients all over the East Bay. And for fun - Andrew loves to play ultimate frisbee, climb rocks, windsurf, and play with his dog whenever he can!
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Sasha Shankar - Urban Farmer
Sasha is part of the PJ nursery crew. She started off as a volunteer, and soon transitioned to working with PJ. Sasha has worked as a youth advocate and educator, and is very passionate about incorporating permaculture principals and practices in everyday life. She is excited to be working with PJ in hopes of bettering the quality of life in the communities we are a part of and serve.
Leo Orleans - Nursery Manager
Hiiiiiii! My name is Leo Orleans and I represent part of the nursery crew at Planting Justice. My ultimate goal is to radicalize healing as a strategy towards decolonization and resisting neo-liberal globalization. More importantly than that I hope to work collectively, in a multitude of creative ways that can resemble healing, to re-connect to our roots, our ancestors and our highest selves as we move forward building our ancient future. All we need to know is already inside of our blood so I live to serve the liberation of my Afro-Mexica root! Following the inspiration of my GrandMa, my justice work comes through kitchens, gardens and food systems engaged by radical Black queer Feminism and Education. I practice Zapatismo. I am genderqueer warrior and use <them/they/their> for my gender pronouns. Saludos!
Troy Horton - Nursery Manager
Troy Horton was born and raised in Oakland. He learned about permaculture volunteering at Hayes Valley Farm, going on to earn three Permaculture Design Certificates, one with Merritt College. Troy worked with Christopher Shein of Wildheart Gardens installing permaculture landscapes and gardens throughout the East Bay. Excited to be managing the nursery for Planting Justice!
Clinton Williams III - Nursery Manager
Jordan Lambert - Nursery Manager
After interning with Rolling River Nursery in Humbolt County for over a year, Jordan is excited to support the transition of the nursery to Planting Justice's site in East Oakland! Jordan earned a BS in Anthropology and Geography with a focus on sustainable agriculture from CAL-Poly San Luis Obisbo, and has spent her early career working on farms and homesteads. She stoked that PJ has acquired Rolling River Nursery and is committed to bringing plants to the people!
Otis Spikes - Urban Farmer
Otis grew up in Sobrante Park and has lived here in the neighborhood for the past 37 years. After hearing about the Planting Justice Nursery & Aquaponics Farm Incubation Center, he came to apply for a job, and was quickly hired for his experience and expertise in irrigation construction, a skill he honed working for the City of Oakland's Parks & Recreation Department. He's excited to be a part of something BIG that will benefit the community of Sobrante Park.
Robert Williams - urban farmer
Robert came home to Oakland from a prison in Nevada in January 2016, and his friend Anthony Forrest (PJ educator & spokesperson) referred him to Planting Justice. Robert has extensive experience in appliance installation, making him a valuable addition to our urban farm team. He's excited about creating freedom at Planting Justice.
Leroy "Skip" Campbell - Urban Farmer
Skip is a Sobrante Park resident who grew up in the Sobrante Park neighborhood and heard about the Planting Justice Nursery & Aquaponics Farm through the community. He's an experienced carpenter and has been helping PJ build the roofs of our storage containers on the E. 105th site. As a formerly incarcerated urban farmer, Skip is excited to transform the lot at E. 105th into something good for his community.
Gordon Limbrick - Urban Farmer
Gordon was born and raised in Sobrante Park, and is excited to join the team at Planting Justice to do something positive for his community. A formerly incarcerated urban farmer, Gordon is passionate about transforming the lot at E. 105th into a beautiful piece of scenery that also feeds the neighborhood healthy food. When he's not tending fruit trees at Planting Justice, he's blowing up the underground hip-hop scene with his group, Mouthpiece Society.
Chris Lockett - Urban Farmer
Chris actually met PJ founder Gavin Raders in San Quentin several years ago, and remembered the organization when we showed up to build the PJ Nursery & Aquaponics Farm Incubation Center in his neighborhood. A month after getting hired to work at the PJ nursery, Chris had this to say, "Planting Justice is really good for those of who have spent a lot of our lives in prison. In prison, you learn not to smile, because it's a sign of weakness. Even though I'm out now, I still don't smile, just out of habit, but Planting Justice is teaching me how to smile again." When he's not tending trees at Planting Justice, he's blowing up the underground hip-hop scene with his group, Mouthpiece Society.
Grassroots Organizing Program
alisia brown - Canvass Coordinator
Born and raised in Oakland, Alisia has been working with Planting Justice for over 3 years. Alisia is passionate about serving disenfranchised youth in the Bay Area, empowering them with the tools to lead a healthy lifestyle, and mentoring them in living well and following their dreams. She is a mom to Dashanae, age 7, and hopes to open a Planting Justice Youth Center one day in the future.
patrick dunigan - grassroots organizer
vernon dailey - grassroots organizer
Laura Powers - Grassroots Organizer
I was born and raised in L.A. and moved to the Bay Area 20 years ago, where I finished a BA in Law Studies at St. Mary's and worked as a paralegal in Oakland. I am happy to be so directly working for justice now, encountering wonderful citizens and informing them about PJ. My other passion is for archeology (architecture + ecology) and the experimental city Arcosanti, which is about cities designed for true equity - "access by proximity," meaning no sprawl and no food deserts.
Johanna Holden - Grassroots Organizer
Johanna grew up in Berkeley collecting eggs in her grandparents' chicken coop and hunting for mushroom in Redwood Park. She studied theatre in Oregon before finding her niche as a white collaborator in the fight for Black and Brown liberation. She dreams of one day teaching wilderness survival skills and witchcraft to queer and trans youth. She is thrilled to be putting down roots with Planting Justice.