Board of DirectorsMeet our board
Co-Founder + Co-Director
Haleh Zandi is a mother, land-based activist, co-founder and director at Planting Justice. For the past 10 years, she has been organizing across prison walls to support people impacted by mass incarceration as they return home to community. Haleh’s approach towards food sovereignty particularly draws critical connections between the United States’ dependence upon fossil fuels within the modern colonial food system and the unjust U.S. militarization of the Middle East. Prior to founding Planting Justice, Haleh worked for Peace Action West in Berkeley and with the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland. Read More
Educator + Case Manager
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. Read More
Co-Founder + Co-Director
Gavin Raders is a co-founder and co-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, Read More
Any inquiries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Farm Manager [El Sobrante]
Andrew grew up in Ohio, received an Environmental Studies degree from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and has worked within several sectors of the food & water world. Working with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming he documented the recession of Aspen stands, researched the impacts of livestock management practices, and was introduced to the top-down approach of improving management practices. Uninspired by top-down change, Andrew moved to Boston where he co-founded a wiki-based website devoted to ethical consumerism by providing product life-cycle information to everyday consumers. Read More
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Alisia Brown was born and raised in Oakland and formerly worked with Planting Justice from 2012-2017. She loves working with children and supporting the organization in bringing this work to more people through street canvassing. She has been a member of the Planting Justice Board of Directors since 2016.
Senior Program Manager, Product Marketing at Yelp
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.
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. Read More
Cora Lee Garcia
Nipple Nectar 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.
Luis Ortega Sr.
Nursery Technician and Leadership Council member, Planting Justice
Author, Artist, Activist and Founder of The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary, 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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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. Read More
Võ Hải (Hai Vo)
Author, Artist, Activist and Founder of The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary, TESLA
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. Read More
“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.”
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.
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. Read More
PLACE for Sustainable Living
Bio coming soon!
Nursery Technician, Planting Justice
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.
Erica Meta Smith
Professional Forester and Certified Ecologist at 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.