Good Food News - Planting Justice
This New York Times story is about an organic orchard in Oakland that hires the formerly incarcerated as gardeners and is literally growing hope.
The green thumbs are there because of Planting Justice, a nine-year-old nonprofit that combines urban farming with environmental education and jobs for ex-offenders, many from nearby San Quentin State Prison. They are giving them a “family sustaining” wage, along with health benefits and a month of paid leave annually.
Their Rolling River Nursery offers around 1,100 varieties of potted trees and plants, and an edible landscaping business. Their roving horticulturalists are hired by well-off clients to install beehives, fruit trees, chicken coops, massive barrels for harvesting rainwater, and “laundry to landscaping” systems that funnel used washing machine water into the garden. The money earned helps subsidize pro bono edible landscapes in low-income neighborhoods.
The guiding principle for Planting Justice is "kale, not jail". A very organic hope indeed.