September 2016 Archives

Former Inmates Garden for Change

planting-justice.jpg“I’d be out there running amok, if not dead or locked up again -- Planting Justice saved my life,” says Julius Jones. Sitting in the sun on the 5-acre “Mother Orchard” in El Sobrante, Jones and other recent inmates of San Quentin State Prison offer nothing but praise for the Oakland-based nonprofit, founded in 2009 by Gavin Raders and Haleh Zandi. As one of 31 former prisoners hired by Planting Justice in the past 7 years, Jones is among a growing number of participants in the Holistic Re-Entry program, which educates former inmates about the benefits of regenerative landscape design, called permaculture. The program starts with garden training during incarceration, and provides employment opportunities for prisoners upon their release, translating planting skills into living-wage job opportunities.