Gavin Raders - Executive Director
Gavin Raders is a co-founder and Executive Director of Planting Justice, a social justice activist, and a permaculture demonstrator/teacher. He dedicates his time to practicing permaculture wherever he can, having gone through extensive training with some of the most inspiring and effective permaculture teachers in the world: Geoff Lawton, Penny Livingston-Stark, Brock Dolman, Darren Dougherty, and Nik Bertulis. Before his stint as an intern at the Regenerative Design Institute, he studied cultural anthropology at UC Berkeley, and organized on a range of anti-war, anti-nuclear, environmental and human rights issues both on campus and off. He has knocked on nearly 30,000 doors in California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada as a community organizer with Peace Action West.
He comes to permaculture and ecological design through a social justice framework which recognizes the right of all people to peace, security, housing, healthy food, clean water, jobs and healthcare, and the rights of future generations to a just and livable world. For this to happen, he believes that Americans need to understand and respect the intimate connection and the shared fate we have with all people and all life on this planet, and organize effectively on the local level to come up with replicable and effective solutions to the range of hardships and oppressions we currently face. When families, communities, bio-regions, and nations work with nature instead of against her to provide their own sustainable food, water, and energy, this not only makes us more resilient, but also makes us less likely to violently take what they need from someone else. He is still riding on the inspiration and jolt of passion he experienced in India, studying and advocating for the right to water and against its privatization by massive water corporations (such as Coca-Cola). You can read the paper he published on the subject here:
Tomas Moreno - Executive Assistant
Wiley Rogers - Director of Media
Wiley grew up beekeeping and gardening with his family in Berkeley, CA. After studying ecological economics and focussing on affordable housing/gentrification in the interior west, he moved back to the Bay Area to learn more about permaculture and food justice work. He has been working off and on with Planting Justice for the last four years, landscaping and documenting the inspiring work Planting Justice is doing to rebuild a green economy based on local food production, create economic opportunities for people with barriers to employment and compost the empire. In his spare time he can be found windsurfing on the Bay, playing music and working on his boat. You can learn more about Wiley's Film Making at the Planting Justice Vimeo Channel or his personal website www.wileyrogersfilms.com.
Haleh Zandi - Director of Education
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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Maya Salsedo - Educator
For Maya Charise Salsedo the personal is political and what connects her to food justice work is her family's history of food insecurity. The first ever Youth Organizer for Rooted in Community, Maya took her organizing to the national level at a young and now has six years of professional experience. Maya studied at Mills College in Oakland California majoring in Ethnic Studies and Political Legal Economic Analysis with an emphasis in Legal Studies; her senior thesis was a focus group with Low Income African American Mothers in West Oakland focusing on Food Access. Maya grew up in Santa Cruz where she had a liberating and radicalizing experience learning about the food system in 2007 at Food What!? a Youth Empowerment Farming Program. It then became clear to Salsedo that her family had a poor diet not for lack of knowledge or trying but because of a rigged food system that makes healthy food a luxury, since awakening Salsedo has lead a life dedicated to healing the food system and communities most hurt by it. Maya fulfills her personal and political passions while growing food, jobs and community as the newest Planting Justice Educator. Salsedo has offered speaches at the Community Food Security Conference, UCSC Strengthening the Roots, Santa Cruz Violence Prevention Planning Session, Bioneers, UCSC Earth Summit, Environmental Youth Forum, Why Hunger Harry Chapin Awards. Salsedo is a 2012 Brower Youth Award Winner; 2013 Bioneers Youth Plenary Speaker; and a panelist at Bioneers, Kellog Food and Society; & Growing Food and Justice Coalition. Offered workshops at Ecofarm, Kellog Food and Community Conference. Learn more about Maya's work at local school gardens on our blog and connect to bring Planting Justice's Education Team to your community classroom firstname.lastname@example.org!
Julio Madrigal - Educator
Julio was brought up in a food desert community and once he started learning about climate change, he got really involved in growing his own organic food and providing opportunities for his peers to learn about climate change. Julio was involved in a program called Ashoka Youth Venture (now called Youth Seed) during high school. He has lead various food justice workshops at different schools, including his own, spoke at rooted in community conference as well as UC Davis. Julio believes that it is important for young people like himself to be involved in the food justice movement because of the injustice he saw in his own community. Since he graduated from High School he has been working for Planting Justice as an educator and permaculture landscaper to bring back food sovereignty and find ways to replenish land that has been covered in concrete. He is also currently in college studying sustainable agriculture and radical movements because he greatly values the indigenous knowledge of being one with nature. In his spare time he enjoys writing poetry, make herbal medicine, and growing food with youth. He is a also a certified permaculture designer.
Transform Your Yard Program
Andrew Chahrour - Program Director
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 worked to produce digital maps of aspen stands, whose recession 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 as a volunteer. Andrew built the new Planting Justice website and he continues to bring technology solutions to Planting Justice that increase our capacity to do our work. In his free time, Andrew builds websites for other non-profits, plays ultimate frisbee, climbs rocks, and chases after his dog.
Salvador Mateo - Permaculture Designer
Or Rabinowiz - Permaculture Designer
Following his love for the natural world, Or received his Bachelor's degree in Biology from UC Santa Cruz. His main passions include environmental, social, and personal sustainability. He puts his passions into action through his work with Planting Justice and Be Present, two incredible non-profits. Since the start of 2012, he has been working as a Permaculture Designer/Team Leader for Planting Justice. He co-facilitates workshops in the Be Present Empowerment Model, a tool for dialogue, developing effective relationships, and addressing the impact of race, gender, class, power, and other divides, on our personal and collective well being. His passion for social sustainability has led him to explore different forms of intentional community and cooperative living. He currently lives in a coop house that he helped found and where he enjoys coming home to good food, music, games, and a group of friends who are committed to working through some of the tougher issues that come up when living communally.
Kevin Williams - Permaculture Designer
Julius Jones - Permaculture Landscaper
Julius Jones is a Landscaper with the Transform Your Yard program and is happy to be apart of the Board of Directors. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Berkeley, CA. He enjoys long hikes, rockclimbing, and training Roller pigeons bred for color, speed, depth, and flying. Since he has been apart of Planting Justice, Julius has learned so much from his fellow staff members and he has lost an incredible 60 pounds! The more he works, the more energy he accumulates to do the job efficiently. He is a hardworker to the team and always wants to learn from others. As the years approach, Julius sees lots of progress from the community to want to participate in building gardens all over, knowing that it takes hard work and dedication to see the glorious outcome of having a garden for resident in our community. To have one of these glorious gardens put together in your yard means a lot of love and want to live healthier. :)
Siddiqqi Osibin - Permaculture Landscaper
Siddiqqi Osibin is a permaculture landscaper for Planting Justice. He grew up in North Oakland, CA and appreciates working in his home town. Siddiqqi enjoys bike riding, walking, astronomy and his new found love which is planting and designing sustainable edible gardens. He is currently attending a permaculture design course through P2R and is excited about plant identification and taxonomy. His positive spirit and strong work ethic is an important asset to the team.
Averan Gale - Aquaponics Expert
Grassroots Organizing Program
Daniel Alper - Outreach Coordinator
Daniel Francis Alper has been rocking the streets with the PJ Canvass team since June, 2013. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice from San Francisco State University and has been living in Oakland for the past two years. Having grown up in the world of musical theater, Daniel is passionate about transforming the sidewalk into a venue for inspirational performance and food justice activism. In the kitchen, Daniel prepares vegetarian curry dishes and cakes made from scratch, with his signature specialty of fresh fruit infused frostings. In his free time, Daniel likes to read fantasy books and study foreign languages.
Patrick Dunigan - Grassroots Organizer
I grew up on a ranch in the Sierra Nevadas of Northern California amongst nothing but trees, animals, and my 6 brothers and sisters. Ironically never growing food besides the animals, i've always been a country side obsessor. Going to school in the Bay Area gave me the perfect counter balance to my isolated upbringing and showed me what city life could and is all about. In comes Planting Justice to bridge the gap for me. Cities have cut us off from the earth and all that the earth has to offer us. We at PJ get to bring us all back to mother earth and unlock her wild secrets of food, healing, and love. If you see me out on the street, don't worry, I won't bite.........hard.
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.
Anthony Forrest - Grassroots Organizer
Vernon Daley - Grassroots Organizer