Board of Directors

Planting Justice Board Member, Haleh

Haleh Zandi

Planting Justice Co-Director

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Leah Atwood

MESA Co-Director

Planting Justice Board Member, Cora Lee

Cora Lee Garcia

Nipple Nectar Farm

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Kelly

Kelly Curry 

Author, Artist, Activist and Founder of The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary, TESLA

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Nicole

Nicole Wires

Permaculture Designer, Planting Justice 

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Paul

Paul Sheldon 

Founder of www.Dreamosophy.com

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Erica Meta Smith

Erica Meta Smith

Professional Forester and Certified Ecologist at Terra Global Capital

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Anthony

Anthony Forrest

Planting Justice Educator and Case Manager

Planting Justice Board Member, Joy

Joy Moore 

Farm Fresh Choice, Berkeley Food Policy Council 

Planting Justice Board Member, Amy

Amy Butler

Senior Program Manager, Product Marketing at Yelp

Planting Justice Board Member, Marcelo

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo

Musician, Dancer, PhD Candidate UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies

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Võ Hải (Hai Vo)

Planting Justice Board Member, Veronica

Veronica Ramirez

PLACE for Sustainability Living

Planting Justice Board Member, Gavin

Gavin Raders

Planting Justice Co-Director  

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Andrew

Andrew Chahrour 

Planting Justice Farm Manager

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Alisia

Alisia Brown

Planting Justice Grassroots Fundraiser

Planting Justice Board of Directors, Alexis

Alexis Stavropoulos

Property Manager, Hospitality Services

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Jennifer Jacobs 

Software Professional, Social Entrepreneur

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Seneca Schachter

Community Organizer, Activist and Musician

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Chris Boas

Co-Founder and CEO of Zeptoo

BOARD BIOS

 

HALEH ZANDI: PLANTING JUSTICE

Haleh Zandi is a co-founder and the co-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. 

Any inquiries, please contact haleh@plantingjustice.org

PAUL SHELDON: FOUNDER OF WWW.DREAMOSOPHY.COM

Paul Sheldon serves on the Planting Justice board of directors, in part because of his extensive connections within the “Sustainable Corrections” movement, nationally and internationally.  An internationally-recognized authority on sustainable food planning, natural capitalism, and local community organizing, Paul is well-known in the fields of "greening corrections"; neighborhood planning; energy, water, and resource efficiency planning; sustainability; fund raising; and board development.  Through his articles, publications, and conference presentations, Paul has existing connections with correctional institutions and associations, as well as community-based support organizations in communities in around the US, as well as in the Czech Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, and beyond. His work on energy efficiency in Alaska, economic and energy alternatives to coal plants on the Navajo Nation, and his background working on sustainable agriculture, energy, and water systems at Natural Capitalism Solutions (with his older sister, Hunter Lovins) prepared him well to support the work of Planting Justice.  Paul's recent Greening Corrections Technologies Guidebook, published by the National Institute of Justice, included Planting Justice as an example of successful, self-funding re-entry programs for formerly-incarcerated people.  Through his participation in such organizations as the American Correctional Association, the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents, and the American Jails Association, as well as his extensive background with neighborhood development programs such as the Los Angeles-based TreePeople, and Boulder, CO's community energy planning process, Paul complements PJ’s existing fund raising, board development, and outreach to community-based organizations and leaders in providing resources and planning for continuing success as well as replication of PJs ‘s programs and activities in other regions.

GAVIN RADERS: PLANTING JUSTICE

Gavin Raders is a co-founder and co-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:

LEAH ATWOOD: MESA

Leah grew up on a ranch in the redwoods of Arcata, CA and moved to the Bay Area to pursue degrees in Environmental Policy and Spanish at UC Berkeley. She has lived in South and Central America as well as in Bangladesh working on behalf of social, environmental and food justice initiatives. Thanks to her work experience abroad she gained further insight into international agriculture systems and the value of socio-ecologically mindful practices and unconventional multi-stakeholder collaboration. Leah currently serves as Program Director for the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA). Founded in 1994, MESA is a non-profit dedicated to supporting seasoned and emerging small-scale farmers to strengthen resilient, local food systems worldwide through cross-cultural exchange and hands-on training in ecological production and innovative marketing. MESA advances a new generation of agrarian leaders, linking current innovations with global traditions to promote land stewardship, localized economies and cultural awareness.  Leah’s prior work experience includes program development for the International Institute for Bengal Basin to address water rights and pollution mitigation as well as fund development for the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant to provide advocacy for indigent refugees. She currently serves on the board of directors for Planting Justice, an Oakland non-profit transforming the Bay Area food system by creating green jobs and democratizing access to affordable, nutritious food. She deeply enjoys: teaching and practicing yoga; being outside on rocks, waves and trails; growing food and befriending bees.

ANDREW CHAHROUR: PLANTING JUSTICE

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!

ANTHONY FORREST: PLANTING JUSTICE

Anthony Forrest has served for the past 7 years as an Educator and Case manager for Planting Justice, which has given him the opportunity to demonstrate growth and stability. Planting Justice was the change he needed to change his life. He was locked up for over 25 years, and Planting Justice supported him to continue his work in community-building and provided opportunities and experiences that he otherwise may have never had. As someone who was formerly incarcerated, he now has the privilege through his work with Planting Justice to teach inside of prisons and juvenile detention centers to offer a reflection of what is possible in re-entry. His commitment to freedom helps him to make sound decisions now without second-guessing himself, and he wants this same foundation for others who are currently locked up in State institutions. Not only has he stayed out of prison, he is representing the work of Planting Justice across the country, he made the cover of the East Bay Express, and he also started his own business, a personal touch mobile detail company, with 10 guys on parole working for him. He wants to thank Planting Justice for giving him a better outlook on life! 

KELLY CURRY: ELECTRIC SMOOTHIE LAB, TESLA

Kelly Curry is an author, publisher, relationship builder and social justice activist. She utilizes her love of writing, storytelling and sharing healthy, living foods to create powerful, on the ground shifts with lower income, communities of color. Kelly began her career by editing and publishing Freedom Rag in Chicago, Illinois. This groundbreaking hip-hop publication was a quarterly, cultural arts journal devoted to arts and letters of the African-Diaspora.

She segued to bringing conservatory level arts programming to the children of New York City Parks and Recreation Centers in Harlem. Through this program Kelly brought world renowned musicians, scholars, painters and activists to share their craft. She also collaborated with the kids to plant the first children's gardens in Harlem and supported them in publishing their own annual magazine. She continued this trajectory by delivering similar programming 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.

In the Bay Area Kelly joined forces with food justice giants People’s Grocery and later Planting Justice in the work of reminding community about the power of Plants as Medicine and growing their own food. Currently she is focused on “moving nutrition through the community,” by engaging committed, creative, sustainable systems change around food access for the citizens of East and West Oakland. She does this work with The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary aka TESLA, which she founded.

In 2017 her book, “Until the Streets of the Hood Flood with Green, The Story of the Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary” was published by Reimagine and Freedom Voices. She sits on the Board of Directors for Planting Justice and volunteers daily with The Food Mill where she picks up and redistributes imperfect produce to community and delivers compost and coffee grinds back to the Earth. 

ALISIA BROWN: PLANTING JUSTICE GRASSROOTS FUNDRAISER

Born and raised in Oakland, Alisia has been working with Planting Justice for over 5 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 9, and hopes to open a Planting Justice Youth Center one day in the future. 

ALEXIS STAVROPOULOS: PROPERTY MANAGER, HOSPITALITY SERVICES

Alexis Stavropoulos received her M.A. in Geography at California State University, Fullerton. Her research focused on local food production, famers' markets, and home gardens in Irvine, CA. During this time she worked at Orange County Produce, which led her through a world of conventional and organic agriculture. Her experience introduced her to the wasteful system of large-scale industrial agriculture. This inspired her to receive a permaculture design certificate from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. Her support for food justice comes from years of watching people give their lives to fields of strawberries, moving from county to county following the harvesting schedules of the central valley, and being underpaid and under respected. Her central mantra is let food be your medicine. Her life pleasures include yoga, photography, running in the rain, and travel. 

JOY MOORE: FARM FRESH CHOICE, BERKELEY FOOD POLICY COUNCIL

A long-time local food activist, Joy Moore played a key role in community efforts to reform school lunch in the Berkeley Unified School District, co-founded Farm Fresh Choice, and is a member of the Berkeley Food Policy Council. She has lived and worked in Berkeley since 1969 having migrated from New York city. Retired from the City of Berkeley Chronic Disease Prevention Program in 2007, she attended UC Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She was also instrumental in the campaign to tax soda in Berkeley. Joy currently teaches a garden based nutrition program to high school students and their families in the Berkeley Unified School District and McClymonds High in Oakland. She has served on many non-profit boards and councils, including the Ecology Center, Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley Food Policy Council, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, Pie Ranch and the local station board of KPFA/Pacifica Radio. Joy strives to provide access to low resource communities to be able to grow and eat organically.

CORA LEE GARCIA: NIPPLE NECTAR FARM (AKA NIP NEC FARM)

Cora Lee was born and raised in Oakland’s Laurel and Fruitvale districts, among the city's large urban Indian community.  She also has roots in North Carolina, her tribal territory and ancestral homeland. Cora Lee has a professional background in organizing, nonprofit development, education, and medicine. She is passionate about sovereignty, animal husbandry, and homemaking.  She was trained in Anthropology at Merritt College and Stanford University.  Cora Lee lives in the Castlemont district, where she stewards a well-loved plot of land. 

ERICA META SMITH: TERRA GLOBAL CAPITAL

Erica Meta Smith is a native to rural Northern California, and is dedicated to sustainable systems of design. She works in Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) carbon development - linking communities to carbon markets through carbon off-set creation. She received her undergraduate degree in Forestry and her Masters of Forestry from the University of California, Berkeley.  Erica's respect for living systems is based upon her family's practice in Forestry and their dependence upon natural resources as their income. She believes global climate change affects all parts of society and she is committed to helping communities through the creation of alternative livelihoods.

JENNIFER JACOBS: SOFTWARE PROFESSIONAL, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

Jennifer brings 25 years experience in high tech and non-profits to the board at Planting Justice, along with a passion for permaculture and the vision of creating a just, thriving, and sustainable world for everyone. Over the years she has landed at many rapidly growing organizations including Apple, Cisco Systems, Salesforce.com, and a handful of non-profits, collaborating and managing a diverse array of multi-national programs, people and software implementations. Currently she also serves on the board of directors at the Dharmata Foundation. Jennifer lives in the East Bay with her family and a menagerie of animals at the edge of Tilden Park. She is excited and honored to serve alongside all the inspired people at Planting Justice.

NICOLE WIRES: PLANTING JUSTICE

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 #DefundOPD working group of the Anti Police-Terror Project.  She also loves to garden, read, dance, climb, hike, play guitar, drum, and explore.

AMY BUTLER: ADOBE SYSTEMS

Amy Butler is a Berkeley resident, mother of two, gardener, aspiring permaculture designer, and a client of the Planting Justice Transform Your Yard program. Professionally, Amy leads program management with the web team at Adobe Systems, where she facilitates inclusive, collaborative teams to design and build web experiences that inspire creativity. Outside of work, she is obsessed with organic gardening, native habitat restoration, permaculture principles, community farmers' markets, and the promise of green jobs turning our paved, polluted, and wasted earth into food-producing public spaces and community farms. Amy is very excited to be working with Planting Justice to bring technology, community, and the food justice movement together and to discover the magic that happens in the process.

VERONICA RAMIREZ: PLACE FOR SUSTAINABILITY LIVING

Bio coming soon!

MARCELO GARZO MONTALVO: MUSICIAN, DANCER, PHD CANDIDATE, UC BERKELEY ETHNIC STUDIES

Marcelo Garzo Montalvo (Mapuche, Chilenx) is an award-winning scholar-activist, classically-trained experimental musician, Aztec ceremonial dancer and PhD Candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Planting Justice from 2010-2014 and worked on staff as part of the Education team during the same period. He has also worked for People's Grocery in West Oakland as the Food Justice Allyship Coordinator and Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA as the Youth Programs Manager. He has facilitated numerous popular education workshops in the food sovereignty and environmental justice movements over the years, collaborating with groups like Phat Beets Produce, Canal Youth for Justice and the Decolonize the Food System Collective. His art, research and activism focuses on decolonization and inter-generational, inter-cultural healing.

SENECA SCHACHTER: COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, ACTIVIST, AND MUSICIAN

Seneca Schachter is a fifteen-year Community Organizer, Activist and Musician based in Oakland California. He has raised countless dollars for local and international causes, while also using music as a tool for social change and youth empowerment with his band Earth Amplified. He is currently a Real Estate Agent for Keller Williams Oakland, helping many first time home buyers navigate the challenging housing market here in the Bay Area. He enjoys spending time with his Wife and 4-year-old son, while also coaching soccer, hiking and participating in community events here in Oakland.

ANITA WILLS: AUTHOR, ACTIVIST, AND RADIO SHOW HOS

Anita Wills is a Writer, Speaker and Community Activist. She is the author of six books, including A Nation of Flaws: JustUs in the Homeland, which is a historical account of Policing in America. Ms. Wills previously worked as a Pre School Teacher, Childcare Provider, and Administrative Assistant. She sits on the advisory Board of Essie Justice Group. Ms. Wills became an Activist when her son Kerry Baxter Senior was Wrongfully Convicted of 2nd Degree Murder in 2003. She has activated against Wrongful Convictions and disparate sentencing of African Americans, for sentencing reform, Prisoners’ Rights, and an end to the Money Bail System. In 2011, Ms. Wills grandson, Kerry Baxter Junior, was killed under mysterious circumstances in Oakland California. This tragic event caused Ms. Wills to become an Activist against Police Killings. Since then she has traveled to Ferguson (Mike Brown), Cleveland (Tamir Rice), Stockton (James Rivera Junior), Vallejo Ca (Mario Romero), Santa Rosa Ca (Andy Lopez), and many more locations to stand in solidarity with families. In May of 2016, Ms. Wills and family members who lost loved ones through Police Action traveled to Havana Cuba. There they participated in the Cuban Independence Celebration on May 1st and met with a member of the Cuban five. Ms. Wills attended San Jose City College, Laney College and Merritt College and Chabot College, where she majored in History, English, and Early Childhood Education. She also holds a Certificate in Early Childhood Education.

CHRIS BOAS: CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF ZEPTOO

Chris Boas is the co-founder and CEO of Zeptoo, a company which creates innovative solutions for reaching the unbanked and underbanked in emerging market countries. He also co-founded Airbanq, set up to change the payday lending and check cashing industries in the US, and Sourcetrace, focused on tracing fair trade and sustainability practices in coffee and other agricultural supply chains. Mr. Boas has served as legal counsel to emerging growth software and biotechnology companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has worked with companies at all stages of the development cycle. He has sat on a number of non-profit boards in the Bay Area including Ragged Wing Ensemble and Vedic Vidya Institute. He lives in the East Bay with his wife and three children.

Võ Hải (Hai Vo)

Hải Võ là người Mỹ gốc Việt, a queer-identified diasporic who grew up in California with roots and ancestors from Việt Nam. Hải is passionate about traditional food(ways), self- and group-liberation, popular education, and having a healing and deepening relationship to land, food, plant medicine, and community.

Growing up in a Vietnamese immigrant family of gardeners, farmers, and cooks, Hải learned the proverb, “Một cây làm chẳng nên non, ba cây chụm lại nên hòn núi cao”. In English, it roughly translates to one tree provides little strength, three trees together allows us to reach high mountains. This proverb has been a guiding light in their commitment toward justice, visionary organizing, and food and ecological sovereignty – that when we come together collectively, we can achieve anything and change the world. Hải's committed to food sovereignty and the liberation of those most impacted.

"I want to shift the narrative and to shift culture - to not be part of a generation anticipated to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. I don’t want that to be our reality. I want our generation to be the one that overcomes diet-related illness, chronic disease, and adversity. I want to uplift and raise up future generations that love themselves and one another and reconnects and aligns our bodies, minds, and spirits with that of our ancestors."