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By Andrew Charour
What an incredible blessing it is to be working on Planting Justice's five-acre food forest in El Sobrante!  This month has been nothing short of momentous: after years of planning and months of grueling, hot on-the-ground work, our farm infrastructure is really coming together. We're just a few short weeks away from starting to plant hundreds of fruit trees, just in time for El Niño rains!!
We finished our deer fence (hooray!), we began removing poison oak, we submitted our water use registration with the State Water Resources Board, and we got a compact tractor to do our heaviest lifting and save our backs.
September also saw the launch of our volunteer program on the farm! So far we have hosted nearly 50 individual volunteers throughout our Thursday and Saturday workdays - a few of whom have come out each and every opportunity. We've made incredible progress with this extra help!
With Volunteers last month we:
- collected all the thistle heads on the entire 5 acres (1,000lbs or more!)
- stabilized long sections of expose soil
- moved the goats and their pen to more lush pastures
- dug the swales that will harvest water for years to come, and now outline the locations of our trees. - rolled seeds in clay for future propagation (protection from birds, and germination insurance) - installed a level pad for our new shed!
- AND, removed nearly 2000 pounds of trash, apparently dumped on the land many years ago.

Check out the farm page on our website for planned activities in October and scheduled volunteer dates.
A quick shout out to some donors:

- Mr. Espresso in Oakland, States Coffee in Martinez, and Catahoula Coffee in Richmond  - donors of burlap bags - Mack Tree Company in El Sobrante and Timberland Tree Service - regular delivery of free arborist wood chips for mulch - And to one anonymous donor who generously provided $10,000 for us to purchase the materials for our orchard fencing!

More details to come, but bottom line is: you should get out to El Sobrante and be a part of building this dream-come-true before all the work is done!

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