Alyse Toulouse - Grassroots Organizer
For a good portion of my childhood I lived in Pacific Grove, California surrounded by ocean, forests and monarch butterflies. When we moved to the middle of nowhere in Clatskanie/Rainier I experienced culture shock; We were in the country between two tiny towns. Clatskanie had one very expensive grocery store we couldn't afford and Rainier had eighteen bars, eleven churches and no grocery store.
I learned the largest driver of deforestation worldwide is cattle ranches so I decided to go vegetarian at age 14. As a teen I turned to informing myself about animal rights, climate change and anti-war politics and other ecological and social issues which all had validity and a stage when I visited Portland, Oregon, a great reprieve from the rural food desert I lived in.
At Cal I worked with a civil rights group on campus and ran for student government with the Defend Affirmative Action Party. I finished my Bachelors of Science at Berkeley majoring in Society and Environment, with a concentration in Justice and Sustainability. I am putting movements into action by organizing people and raising funds for Planting Justice so we as a world's people can learn from the mistakes we made in constructing our society, and work to re-build better structures for more equal life chances for all under-represented life forms including the world's poor and the ecosystems we rely on. I've been called by many "The Pitbull", because at work I grab on and don't let go. I love creatively communicating with the public and building the movement to end oppressive systems such as the prisons and food apartheid. Our community is such a powerful renewable resource and I am very passionate about ending the ways through which the system we operate under robs our communities, including through the prisons, substance abuse, ill mental health, poverty and isolation from each other. I whole-heartedly believe in the healing power of gardens and I love being able to help heal the world.