Use Your Money – Planting Justice
Planting Justice is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland dedicated to food justice, economic justice, and sustainable local food systems. Planting Justice brings people together to transform empty lots, paved backyards, and grass lawns into productive organic gardens. Through edible gardening, the organization empowers and uplifts those most oppressed by the economic and prison industrial system.
I had the recent pleasure of meeting with Gavin Raders, Executive Director of Planting Justice. Gavin hopes that Planting Justice will be a springboard for those who are marginalized in their communities to become their own leaders: first, by providing living wages so people can support themselves and their families, and second, by giving people the opportunity to do work that is dignified and impacts communities for the better.
Planting Justice is deeply committed to uplifting the systemically oppressed. One way they do so is by training and prioritizing the hire of former inmates. Through their Insight Garden Program at San Quentin State Prison, Planting Justice teaches about permaculture and organic food production to provide job-training skills that inmates can use upon release. Just recently, Planting Justice hired Anthon Forrest, Quincy Hilliard, and Lance Harris through their post-release placement program.
Planting Justice is also big on working with Oakland youth. They have partnered with high school students at Mandela Academy and middle school students at Explore College Prep Middle School to offer hands-on opportunities and meaningful discussions about food justice issues. Staff encourage students to change how they identify with the food they consume, and support them to effect real change in their communities.
Julio Madrigal and Salvador Mateo were students who participated in the organization’s Food Justice and Culinary Arts Program at Mandela Academy. Today, both at age 19 and having graduated from Mandela Academy, they are the youngest staff at Planting Justice and are also founders of EAT GRUB (Enhancing Access to Gardens and Revolutionizing Urban Backyards).
Planting Justice provides edible landscaping services to people from all backgrounds. For every three paying clients, Planting Justice is able to install one garden for free. So far, the organization has installed 35 gardens that were either free or on a sliding sale for people with low incomes.
Want to support good green jobs for former inmates and local youth? Want to join the movement for local organic food and have your own permaculture garden? Hire Planting Justice, and you’ll be using your money to grow not just fresh food but a healthier community.
Learn more about the Use Your Money Campaign now!