staff 

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Gavin Raders

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Gavin Raders is a co-founder and Executive Director of Planting Justice, a father to two amazing daughters, a social justice activist, and a permaculture demonstrator/teacher. For the past 17 years, he has dedicated his life to peoples' movements for peace and social/economic/racial/environmental justice. Prior to Planting Justice, he studied the history, failures, and successes of social movements as a cultural anthropology student 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, and those experiences of speaking with thousands of people and walking city streets, knocking on doors, and taking in how land wasn't being used to meet community needs, sowed the seeds of Planting Justice. Rather than fighting against the things that we don't want and continuously reacting against the onslaught of oppressive systems, Gavin decided at a young age to build solutions that bring healing, health, peace, opportunity, and justice to those around him, using his privileges strategically for reparations and redistribution, and creating space for those most impacted by structural violence to live out their own dreams and enact the solutions they know to be necessary, while simultaneously supporting themselves and their families.

Any inquiries, please contact: gavin@plantingjustice.org

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Haleh Zandi

Co-founder & 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 United States 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 ways for living on stolen land.

Haleh was born and raised in California, and she received her BA at UC Santa Cruz and an MA at CIIS in San Francisco. She is of Persian and Norwegian heritage, and she is the proud mama of two little kids. Prior to founding Planting Justice, she worked for Peace Action West and was an intern at the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland. 

Any inquiries, please contact haleh@plantingjustice.org

 

 
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Jose Guillama

Grantwriter

José has spent most of his professional life working, both as an independent consultant and staff member, for community-based, not-for- profit organizations involved in areas such as: education, human services, community organizing and development, arts and media, teen pregnancy prevention and support for young mothers, adult education and training, violence prevention and research. He has a Master’s in Management of
Human Services from Brandeis University.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he arrived in the Bay Area in 2016 where he has worked as a translator, interpreter, group facilitator, and organizational development consultant. As part of this recent experience, he has been involved with organizations dealing with issues related to environmentally-friendly landscaping and food safety and labor conditions in agricultural farms. He has also been involved, as an interpreter,
translator and volunteer, in facilitating the transition of refugees and asylum seekers from Central America into their new lives in this country and in advocating for their rights in the face of the cultural, social, legal and political challenges that they need to overcome.

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Brontë Velez

Educator and Media Development

brontë is guided by “the many rivers that have come together” to make and sustain her. As a black-latinx multimedia artist, educator, and designer, her praxis (theory + action) lives at the intersections of black liberation ecology and creative placemaking . Her work intends to deconstruct the violences forged by environmental racism through radical imagination. This commitment iterates through several mediums and this year will take form through Lead to Life: A People’s Alchemy for Regeneration listed below. In her last year at Brandeis University, brontë worked as a copy editor on a retrospective of Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ work. When she witnessed his projects Disarm and Palas por Pistolas - in which he transforms weapons into shovels and instruments - she was struck with a vision to continue this project in the United States as a direct response to losing a dear friend to gun violence alongside the larger traumatic impact on black communities and environments from police brutality. She is committed to joy, wellness and walking in the prayer that “justice is what love looks like in public.”

Anthony Forrest

Educator and

Case manager

Planting Justice is the change I needed to change my life. I was locked up for over 25 years. I got out on a Wednesday, got married that Thursday, and started work on Monday. It's been over five years now. Not only have I stayed out of prison, I've represented our work at Planting Justice across the country, and I made the cover of the East Bay Express! I also started my own business, a personal touch mobile detail company. I've got 10 guys on parole working for me. Thanks Planting Justice for giving me a better outlook on my life. 

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Jie Wang

accountant

Jie Wang is a Certified Public Accountant who specializes in non-profit billing for mental health, foster care, adoption, Title IV and more.  Jie supports the Planting Justice Financial Committee with financial reporting, reconciliation, audit preparation, and annual tax preparation. 

 
 
 
 
 

Diane Williams

Educator and

Case Manager

Diane Williams brings to Planting Justice decades of experience as a social worker and public health educator. She is Native Alaskan and has been a resident of the Fruitvale district in Oakland since the 70's. She previously brought her experience and energy to the Native American Health Center, Children's Hospital, Alameda County Prison Health Services, and the Peralta Historical Hacienda and Museum. Diane was fundamental in saving and continuing to maintain the Fruitvale community garden, which had been an empty lot for over 35 years. Diane has a BA from Indiana University and a Master's in Public Health from UC Berkeley. 

 
 

Nicole Wires

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

Salvador Mateo Escobar

TYY Site Leader

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.

 

Julio Madrigal

TYY Site LEader

Julio Madrigal grew up in Oakland, he has witness the struggles people have around food along with the health issues of malnutrition. Julio has had the opportunity to learn from people in his community and this has rooted his love for the Planting Justice community. Julio enjoys teaching people ways to better their gardening techniques or simply learn to use plants as medicine.This has made Julio realize that change is possible and just like plants it takes time to grow. 

George Britton

TYY Landscaper 

bio coming soon

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James collector

tyy landscaper

As a landscaper for Planting Justice, I feel grateful for every day that I can make a hands-on contribution to building resilient, equitable communities in the Bay Area. A lifelong student of permaculture, my earlier work as an environmental journalist led me to the powerful question: “Where does our food come from?” Answering this question continues to challenge almost everything I was taught growing up in America. From off-grid, organic farms in developing countries to data-intensive horticulture projects, it’s been a journey of healing and re-education. I’m honored to be here working alongside the Planting Justice family. The plants and animals are rooting for us!

 

Andrew Chahrour

Farm Manager (el sobrante)

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!

Any inquiries, please contact andrew@plantingjustice.org

Brent walker

farm manager (El Sobrante)

bio coming soon!

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Otis Spikes

Nursery site leader

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. 

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JoSeph Urias

Nursery site leader

bio coming soon!

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Luis Ortega

Nursery site leader

bio coming soon!

 
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Adela flores

Nursery technician

bio coming soon!

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Jose Isordia

nursery technician

bio coming soon!

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Adriana Vera

Nursery technician

bio coming soon!

 

Nnej Kennedy

nursery technician

pic and bio coming soon!
 

luis ortega jr.

nursery technician

pic and bio coming soon!

LJ Clarke

Nursery technician

pic and bio coming soon!

 

Tylen Lee

Educator

bio coming soon!

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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.

ALejandra Cano

educator and nursery office manager

Alejandra Cano joined the Transform Your Yard team in 2014, began working with the Education team in 2015 and transitioned to the Nursery in 2017. She has been contributing to the food justice movement in the Bay Area for several years prior. 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!

Bilal Coleman

farmers market Vendor and Educator

Bilal Coleman was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland, CA. He is a parent of two and he enjoys spending time with both his children. He has a passion for health and personal fitness and giving back to the youth by sharing his personal experiences with the criminal justice system. He appreciates the way everyone at Planting Justice treats each other like family and has supported and accepted him as part of the family. Bilal was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the age of 17. After serving his full sentence, Bilal was released in November of 2015 and is chronicling his first year of freedom through his video diary project, The Freedom Chronicles.