Grow the Food Forest

Planting-Justice

Help create the Mother Orchard, a five-acre food forest in El Sobrante. Planting Justice is hosting volunteer days this winter and spring for individuals and groups to join in.

Planting Justice is known in the Bay Area for converting backyards and lawns into edible gardens and providing living-wage jobs for men who were formerly incarcerated. The group started building the orchard in 2015, and 600 trees are already in the ground: apple, apricot, avocado, currant, elderberry, fig, feijoa, peach, pear, plum, and pomegranate, with many more to come.

The food forest is part of a 10-acre property owned by the collective Wild & Radish, LLC, which also plans to build a wilderness refuge and residential ecovillage farm on the land. Wild & Radish has given Planting Justice a long-term $1/year lease to develop and care for the orchard.

Farm manager Andrew Chahrour says the organically certified produce they grow will supply mobile farmers’ market stands and a CSA fruit share offered at sliding-scale cost. Some will be sold to local restaurants. Plans are also in the works to incubate food co-ops that will use the fruit for pies, jams, and other products to sell locally.

At the orchard, volunteers are needed to help with planting, weeding, tree care, mulching, building compost piles, and starting seeds in the greenhouse. “We’ve had great success hosting groups of 10 to 40 from schools, local businesses, and neighborhood groups,” says Chahrour. Find detailed info and volunteer signup instructions at plantingjustice.org.

—Rachel Trachten

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