Video Storytelling

Stories About Our Work

Planting Justice is celebrating our 10 year anniversary! Hear the impact of these past 10 years from our staff who has made this work possible!

In just 10 years, we have built over 500 permaculture gardens across the Bay Area, provided 44 living wage jobs with benefits for formerly incarcerated people, built a 2-acre nursery with the largest collection of certified organic fruit trees in North America, rematriated our nursery site to the Ohlone people through the indigenous women-led land trust Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, built the most diverse organic urban farm in the country with over 1,000 varieties of tree crops, offered workshops to over 10,000 low-income youth in Oakland, and we are an organization led by frontline black, indigenous and latinx communities! Will you join us in celebrating, dreaming, and embodying a just world into being?!

Video by AYŞE GÜRSÖZ (

Planting Justice served kale smoothies to BART commuters outside of Fruitvale BART in honor of MLK Day.
May 2016-Update on the Planting Justice Nursery & Aquaponics Farm Incubation Center in Sobrante Park
After years in the making, our 5 acre farm project launched in December 2015. Currently, this farm helped us expand our mission of transforming the food system and providing green, living wage jobs for formerly incarcerated people. Now there are hundreds of drought-resistant fruit and nut trees here, providing low-cost produce to food desert communities and families with incarcerated loved ones.
Hear about our excitement when Planting Justice purchased Rolling River Nursery – and with it, the largest and most biodiverse collection of certified organic tree crops in North America!
Planting Justice hired 5 formerly incarcerated neighbors to build our Nursery & Aquaponics Farm Incubation Center in Sobrante Park.

Stories from the Planting Justice Community

This is the FIRST Planting Justice video ever conceived and directed by one of our formerly incarcerated staff. Media Apprentice Maurice “Big Moe” Bell spends one day every week getting trained up on media skills. This is Moe’s first original video, so share far and wide!
Do you live in the United States? Did you eat food today? Then you probably consumed something that was grown, processed, or prepared by undocumented immigrants. This week, the Obama administration confirmed that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun raiding residential neighborhoods nationwide to find and arrest Central American immigrants without papers – spreading fear in Latino communities, splitting up immigrant families, and putting children with undocumented parents at risk.
We are proud to bring you this endorsement from Cynthia Arrington, a lifelong Sobrante Park resident and the head of the Sobrante Park Resident Action Council. “This is what we’re looking for. Our motto in Sobrante Park is to build a safer, healthier community, and this right here would be a tremendous asset to that.
Planting Justice staff discuss how they go about healing in times of hardship, and throughout daily life. From tea, to prayer, to community support, to spending time in the garden, the Planting Justice community shares how they go about healing in times of hardship, and throughout daily life.
Planting Justice offered this video in solidarity with the National Prison Strike movement because we believe in the inherent value, dignity and humanity of every person who is currently incarcerated in the United States.
We reached our fundraising goal of $100,000, which means we reached the point where we get to keep all the money we raise. We released this video when we still had 29 hours to go on our campaign – check out our final fundraising push!

The Freedom Chronicles


My name is Bilal Coleman. When I was 17 years old, I was sent to prison. That was 20 years ago. I was released on parole on November 16th, 2015. I started working at Planting Justice the next day, and am blessed to have this great organization supporting me during this transition.

The Freedom Chronicles is my way of documenting my journey back into society. Hopefully, sharing my story with all of you can bring attention to the trials and tribulations that one may face during the re-entry process. More than pointing out the faults of the system, I want to highlight the positive moments of freedom, growth, and community. I hope that by seeing my journey, people will realize the importance of re-entry programs like Planting Justice, and will work with us to motivate those who are in power to fund more programming like this.

I am the 18th person that Planting Justice has hired from San Quentin. My 17 predecessors have all successfully made the transition and stayed out of prison. I plan to follow in their footsteps, with the help of Planting Justice and all of our supporters. I hope that sharing my story will show the world what Planting Justice is capable of. The State and others with resources should be supporting and funding this work so that we can help hundreds and thousands of people just like me stay out of prison for good. Talk is cheap, but actions aren’t. Follow my story and see how we’re moving and shaking at Planting Justice.

I hope that sharing my story will change people’s minds about so-called “violent criminals” like me. I am human. I am gentle. I do not deserve to be thrown away. I have a light to shine.

I’ll be posting here every week during my first year out.

Thank you for your support,

On MLK Day, there was a huge march in Oakland with 3,000 people calling for peace and justice. I was in awe being at my first protest.
I had a blast on the Planting Justice Staff Retreat! First time in the woods/wild in over 20 years.
Here’s me with my mentor, Anthony (the first PJ ever hired out of San Quentin over 5 years ago) educating the community about the work of Planting Justice.
It’s a beautiful day here in East Oakland, California and this morning I’m working with the PJ Education Team down at Bridge Academy, installing a local food jungle for the youth. Planting Justice has a class here twice a week, where I’m given the opportunity to shine my light while engaging with our future (the youth). So look at me now: 121 days of freedom under my belt and I’m continuing the good work and making that change in not only my life but in the lives of those I come in contact with. Solid.”
The real truth about the matter is it has been six months now since I have been home from prison. I have to thank God for giving me the strength to endure for so long, to even have the chance to get this far…So six months into things and like I’ve been saying for so long, I am having a blast. Life is good, but let’s not get it twisted – as far as my story goes, a place was being structured for me before I had even LEFT prison. Planting Justice was the designer, and with that being said, I was offered a chance to drive towards the top….From my eyes to my words, there’s a cold reality in the world and it’s not easy. I see a lot of homelessness all around me; it wasn’t like this before I went to prison.

So don’t look at my blog as a one sided view to what’s really happening all around. Just know you’re receiving my interpretation of how my life is going. And sure, I’m not super human, I have problems like anyone else. It’s not about difficulty functioning in society or walking around angry and anti-social like everybody expects. The big problem with me is trying to create more time in the day so I can dine with my lady friend….

That’s 200 days.

Bilal was sentenced to 20 years in prison when he was just 17 years old. One year ago, he was released. Today, we are proud of Bilal for beating the statistic that 7 out 10 people who walk out of a California State Prison are back in less than one year. Bilal stayed free!

Let’s get free from mass incarceration:

Bilal can continue to do his work because of supporters like you.

Donate 1 ($17.50) or 2 ($35) hours of parolee payroll & support our cause today.


Corinna from Rolling River Nursery demonstrates how to “pot on” nursery plants successfully.

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