Staff

Staff board

Haleh Zandi

Co-Founder + Co-Director +  Leadership Council + Peace Council
haleh@plantingjustice.org

Haleh Zandi is a Co-Founder of Planting Justice and has been organizing across prison walls to support people impacted by mass incarceration as they return home to community. Haleh believes the modern colonial food system is like a slow and violent warfare on our bodies, and that we have an urgent responsibility to end its deep ties to the fossil fuel industry. Haleh enjoys spending time with her two children at local beaches and making twists on traditional Persian dishes while cooking for family and friends. For any inquiries, please contact haleh@plantingjustice.org.

Staff Planting Justice TYY Team Salvador

Salvador Mateo Escobar

Assistant to Co-Directors + Infrastructure Team + Leadership Council

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 Read More

Staff Gavin Raders

Gavin Raders

Co-Founder + Co-Director + Leadership Council
gavin@plantingjustice.org

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

Education

Staff Planting Justice Educator Diane

Diane Williams

Educator + 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.

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Bilal Coleman

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.

Maya Salsedo

Education Program Director
Pronouns: she/they
City: Oakland, CA

As a high school student Maya attended a food justice internship where she learned about the corporate food system. It was a transformational experience, the first time Maya was able to make sense of the situation she found herself in: eating instant ramen served by a single parent who worked as chef at a farm-to-table restaurant. Maya then became the first Youth Organizer for Rooted in Community (RIC) national network earning the 2012 Brower Youth Award for her work on the Youth Food Bill of Rights; Maya continued organizing with RIC while studying Ethnic Studies and Political Legal Economic Analysis at Mills College. Maya loves to talk about intersectionality, has been known to identify as ratchademic and is a queer multiethnic parent. Maya recognizes that globalizing racialized industrial agriculture is what stole her African ancestors to the US and what pushed her Puerto Rican family to hawaii’s sugar cane fields at the turn of the 20th century. Maya also recognizes that healing with the land is our way out this mess. Maya worked as an educator with Planting Justice in 2014 & 2015, please only take Maya 85% seriously the rest is joy/levity.

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Feyi Ajayi-Dopemu

Educator

Feyi was born and raised in the Bay Area. She is committed to the communal and intergenerational process of creating healthier communities through the healing properties of connecting with nature. She earned her BA in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz with an emphasis on prisoner’s rights. After college, Feyi reconnected with her farmer roots while apprenticing and volunteering on organic farms in California, Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. She has worked as an educator in East Bay public schools in various capacities for the past decade and believes that education can be a means to liberation. Planting Justice has given her an opportunity to bring together her love of social justice, ecology, and education in order to be of service to the beautiful and diverse communities of the bay area and beyond.

Itzel Mercado

Educator
City: Oakland, CA

Itzel joined Planting Justice when she was in highschool and started as an intern in 2020. They found Planting Justice through Dewey Academy while she was a student and then turned into an intern. Itzel’s favorite part of working at PJ is when she gets to make smoothies, go to fruitvale bart station and hand it out to people. She is passionate about food justice because she knows that it can make a big difference in her community and impact a lot of peoples lives in so many different ways. In her free time, she likes to take pictures for upcoming athletes/artists/models (@itzelshoots on instagram), spend time with family and travel.

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Randy Rivera

Educator
City: Berkeley, CA

Randy is very excited to start his first year working with Planting Justice! He learned about the organization through a field trip he went on through an abolition class he took during his time at UC Berkeley. He enjoys filling his space with many many plants, some might say he even has too much but he doesn’t mind. He enjoys listening to music of different genres, dancing, spending time in nature, and nourishing himself through cooking. Although he has much to learn, Randy is passionate about food justice and abolition and looks forward to putting this into his work at Planting Justice.

Transform Your Yard

Staff Planting Justice TYY Team Nicole

Nicole Wires

TYY Permaculture Designer
nicole@plantingjustice.org

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.

Rahul Patel

TYY Ecological Landscaper and Project Manager

Rahul is an ecology and food justice educator for Planting Justice. He brings a lifelong experience exploring the natural beauty of different California ecologies into work with young humans reconnecting with the lessons that nature and its elegant systems can teach us. He spent many years working in locavore restaurants as a cook and can bring the best out of any vegetable. Rahul speaks and listens to plants and is an advocate for Natural solutions to human-made problems (after all, humans are a part of nature). As a constant student of Permaculture, he observes the elegant and sustainable solutions nature has developed over millenia and hopes to integrate them into cities. His hope for the young people is that they may steward and love the Earth in exchange for its knowledge and bounty.

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Aaron Godinez

Ecological Landscaper
Pronouns: he/him
City: Oakland, CA

Aaron has been on the Transform Your Yard Landscaping Team since April 2020. He found Planting Justice through word of mouth surrounding planting the organization had done in the Koreatown Northgate District in Oakland. He followed up through volunteering at the farm in El Sobrante and once at the nursery in Sobrante Park, East Oakland. Aaron’s favorite part of working at PJ is working in the sun, smelling plants, and exchanging words and smiles with people in the PJ community. He is passionate about his thyme. He likes to dance, laugh, and play piano.

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Bobby House

Permaculture Designer
Pronouns: he/him
City: Oakland, CA

Bobby first began working at Planting Justice in 2020. As a returned citizen, Bobby, while incarcerated, became a long term member of IGP (The Insight Garden Program). Preceding his release, the IGP family introduced Bobby to Planting Justice. Bobby loves drawing, landscape design, and gardening, and the art of applying the principles of permaculture to his everyday life. Planting Justice is important to Bobby, as Bobby believes that without organizations like PJ who are willing to invest in the stability, futures and restoration of the systemically impacted, our societies will never be able to fully heal themselves and reach their full yield of potential.

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Bethany Babbitt

TYY Administrative Assistant
Pronouns: she/her
City: Richmond, CA

Bethany joined Planting Justice in May of 2021. She was first introduced to the organization by a member of the canvassing team right after moving to the Bay Area from Philadelphia in 2014. She had been dreaming of becoming a part of PJ ever since then. Her love of everything plant-related began with a Holistic Nutrition program in Berkeley — learning about the power of plants and the importance of having access to healthy, organic, whole foods. It became a passion for Bethany to do what she could to share this new-found information with as many people as possible. She is so so grateful for the opportunity to do this in her role with the Transform Your Yard Team. On the days she’s not with Planting Justice, Bethany works as a residential gardener and herbal medicine maker. When she’s not engaged in one of these activities, you can find her birding, hiking, reading, gardening at home, hanging with friends, and snuggling on her sweet kitty Olivia.

Nursery

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Rachel Adriano

Nursery Office Co-Manager
Pronouns: she/her
City: Oakland, CA

Rachel joined Planting Justice in the Spring of 2020. She is currently beginning her academic journey in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to merge trauma-informed health care and traditional healing. Rachel is a firm believer that food is medicine; in order to begin healing our bodies we need to first heal the soil in which our food grows. Rachel is grateful to be a part of Planting Justice where these things intersect. She enjoys spending time by the ocean, baking, & dancing.

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Julia Toro

Nursery Office Co-Manager
Pronouns: she/they
City: Oakland, CA

Julia Toro has been on the Nursery Team since 2021. They love the blending of plants and people that makes Planting Justice thrive. julia is passionate about environmental justice and indigenous sovereignty and has been organizing around these issues for years. They have a degree in Botany from UC Santa Cruz, and a Master’s in Forestry from UC Berkeley. In their free time, they like to play board games, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

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Max Cadji

City: Oakland, CA

Max Cadji is an urban gardener, a lover of fermented foods, and a community restorative justice activist. He lives in Oakland, Ca with his wife, two amazing kids, and his mom. In the past he has done community food work with People’s Grocery, Phat Beets Produce, North Oakland Restorative Justice Council, The Ecology Center and Self Help Hunger Program. His passion lies in community agroforestry work and has spent the last 17 years working with community groups planting trees in Southern Madagascar.

Staff Planting Justice Nursery Team Otis 2

Otis Spikes

Nursery Team

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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Luis Ortega

Nursery Team + Leadership Council

Bio coming soon!

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Adela Flores

Nursery Team + Peace Council

Bio coming soon!

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Jose Isordia

Nursery Team + Peace Council

Bio coming soon!

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Luis Ortega Jr.

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

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Julio Madrigal

Nursery Team

Julio Madrigal grew up in Oakland, he has witnessed 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.

Rogelio Rizo

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

Staff

Gordon Limbrick

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

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Leroy Ray

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

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David Carasquillo

Nursery Team
Pronouns: he/they
City: Oakland, CA

David has been on the Nursery Team since March 2021. They found Planting Justice through the Center of Employment Opportunities. David’s favorite part of working at PJ is humbleness. They are passionate about social justice, food sovereignty, andreducing recidivism, because they are our voices. In their free time, they like to listen to music, play basketball, and go bike riding.

Staff Planting Justice Nursery Team Joe

Joseph Urias

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

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Yennifer Flores

Nursery Team + Leadership Council +               Peace Council

Bio coming soon!

Cesar Fragunoz

Nursery Technician
Pronouns: they/them
City: Oakland, CA

Cesar joined Planting Justice in the fall of 2018. They are a neighbor who has experience in community organizing from previously working with the statewide environmental justice nonprofit CBE (Communities for a Better Environment) and the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). They are also a member of the Sobrante Park RAC.

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Cesar Fragoso

Nursery Team

Bio coming soon!

Food Forest + Farm

Staff Planting Justice Farm Team Andrew

Andrew Chahrour

El Sobrante Farm Manager + Infrastructure Team +          Leadership Council

Andrew grew up in Ohio and has devoted his work to our collective rights for healthy food & clean water for the last 18 years. Working with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming he documented the recession of Aspen stands, researched grazing strategies, and documented watershed impacts of federal livestock management practices. Uninspired by the top-down approach to improving land management and stewardship practice, Andrew co-founded a wiki-based website devoted to ethical consumerism. Consumer Conscience provided product life-cycle information on popular household products to consumers. Informed by these experiences, Andrew moved to the Bay Area in 2007 following his passion for food, water and the environment and found meaningful work with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA). Read More

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NneJ Ke

Farm Steward
Pronouns: the/ke
Huchiun Unceded Ohlone Land

NneJ started volunteering for PJ in 2015, primarily at the nursery, then transitioned to the farm team in December 2020. NneJ first discovered PJ from friends, then reconnected with PJ from a fundraising campaign to raise money for building the nursery. NneJ loves putting her hands in the dirt. Ke(they) fell even more in love with plants by working at the nursery and orchard. NneJ loves hiking, yoga, meditation, connection to the earth, and finding ways to be playful. NneJ is dedicated to social justice, food sovereignty, food access (redistribution of resources), urban camper (houseless) support, refuge support, and community support. Planting Justice’s work is important to Nnej because it provides support for re-entry and BIPOC folks by demonstrating solutions for a way out of unjust systems. It focuses on healing centered approaches, rather than a system based on fear, control and punishment.

Nadia Barhoum

Farm Team Member
Pronouns: she/her
City: El Sobrante, CA

Nadia grew up in the Bay Area and has been on the Farm Team since 2020. Her favorite part about working at PJ is getting to be in deeper relationship to the land and keeping her hands close to the earth. She loves hearing seed stories and learning more about the ancestral lineages and cultural traditions around plants, farming, and the cosmos. Nadia recently began a seed-saving and land stewardship initiative called Thurayya (@thurayya_seeds), to recover and reconnect ties to her ancestral lands in Palestine and the SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) region.

Grassroots Organizing

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Alisia Brown

Grassroots Organizer

Alisia joined Planting Justice on August 13th, 2012. She has always been on the Grassroots Fundraising Team, but another joy that she has has been helping on the education team as a mentor/leader while passing out smoothies to the youth. Alisia doesn’t have a green thumb, but actually enjoys watering plants and gardens. She is a full-time mother and is very passionate about showing not just her kids but all kids about how to survive the streets of Oakland/the Bay Area.

Skye McIntyre Blomdal

Grassroots Fundraiser
Pronouns: they/elle
Unceded Ramaytush Ohlone Land

Skye is a disabled, (gender)queer dog lover who has been cultivating a relationship with plants as food and medicine from the time they were a small child learning and discovering in their family’s garden and kitchen. They have leaned on plant cultivation practices to hold space for their healing through trauma, and discovery of self as a member of the LGBTQIA2+ community. They have been a fundraiser for Planting Justice since November 2019, after conducting organic farming research in Santa Cruz, CA. Skye is a first generation college graduate who grew up in the Bay Area, and just can’t find it in their heart to leave. They found Planting Justice after researching local food justice organizations for their undergraduate environmental studies program at UC Santa Cruz, and he instantly knew they had to be a part of such a community. Skye orients food justice as the axis of all justice movements, and is excited to bring their love of storytelling to support Planting Justice as we continue to reimagine and build the futures we deserve to see in our communities. When they’re not sharing about Planting Justice’s work with the community, you can find Skye exploring the fiber arts, riding their bike, enjoying local parks with their partner, and cooking for loved ones.

Staff

Laurel Schweidel

Grassroots Organizer

Bio coming soon

Transportation Services +
Administrative Support

Staff Stu Millard

Stu Millard

Vehicle Maintenance

Bio coming soon!

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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.

Staff

Lesbhia Morones

Spanish Interpretation

Bio coming soon

All Staff

LeJeun Clarke Sr

Bio coming soon!

Kelly Curry

Bio coming soon!

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Alfonso Estrada

Bio coming soon!

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Michael Garrison

Bio coming soon!

Thomas Gibson IV

Bio coming soon!

Corrina Gould (STLT)

Bio coming soon!

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Guillermo Ortega Jimenez

Bio coming soon!

Johnella LaRose (STLT)

Bio coming soon!

Obichukwu Lebeke

Bio coming soon!

Dave Madsen

Bio coming soon!

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Sol Mercado

Bio coming soon!

Victoria Montaño (STLT)

Bio coming soon!

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Mason Moore Jr.

Bio coming soon!

Les Morones

Bio coming soon!

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Jon Motley

Bio coming soon!

Marina Olvera

Bio coming soon!

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Jaime Ortega

Bio coming soon!

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Rigoberto Ortega

Bio coming soon!

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Covonne Page

Bio coming soon!

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Maricela Perez

Bio coming soon!

Leroy Ray

Bio coming soon!

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Rogelio Rizo

Bio coming soon!

Akwood (Tiger) Rollins

Bio coming soon!

Eric Soto

Bio coming soon!

Staff Damian Villa
Damian Villa

Bio coming soon!

Ashley Yates

Bio coming soon!

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Simone Robinson

Bio coming soon!

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