“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Climate change has arrived in the San Francisco East Bay, and it is driving drought, wildfires, pollinator die-offs, and economic shocks. We envision a new path for the East Bay, and you can help build it. Join the world changers of ForestR.org as we clean up our communities, plant and regenerate local lands, and create green jobs right here at home. Our goal is to raise $10,000 in 30-days to launch our new permaculture, school seedling, wildfire mitigation, and reforestation campaigns.
A Seed of Inspiration is Found in the Forest
Two years ago, Nimone and Yon Hardisty hiked through a redwood forest that sheltered luscious fern gullies, swollen creeks, and vibrant wildlife. These second- and third-generation redwoods were planted after the vast deforestation of the East Bay in the 1850’s and 1860’s, when nearly all of the original redwoods were logged to build what would become San Francisco. They wondered how our urban lives and spaces could recover more of the wisdom and beauty of nature. This question landed like a seed in the fertile soil of their imaginations.
It Makes Its Way Back to the City
Heading home, they observed highways, streets, and vacant lots in their beloved community overgrown with invasive weeds, littered with trash, and crying out for care. They saw drought-starved trees, and tangles of underbrush, forming a carpet of wildfire fuel and rodent vectors. These were the places most ripe for a transformation, where the full impact of regenerative land management could be felt.
It is Planted in a Vacant Lot
In place of the vacant, neglected, and overgrown lands beneath the overpasses, between the highways, and elsewhere, Yon and Nimone envisioned lush pocket parks, food-forested gardens of plenty, and native plant and pollinator habitats, where the community could enjoy and learn about nature, plant trees and gardens, and earn an income or help fund jobs maintaining them.
It Finds Nourishment
Nimone and Yon knew in their bones that it wasn’t enough to dream, to hope, or to ask an agency for a better community and world. For decades, their generation and the generation before it had been raising the alarms about climate change; toxic emissions in soil, water, and air; pollinator die-off; and the ways these problems are amplified for the poor and communities of color. They had to do something to nurture the vision they knew so many others shared. This imperative changed their lives forever.
And it Grows
Yon and Nimone adopted a two mile stretch of highway through the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) litter removal program and organized weekend cleaning events. They founded ForestR as a non-profit, wrangled their first donations, and offered paid litter cleanup gigs every Saturday as their first green jobs venture. This was a start, but they knew lasting change would require more. And more work would require more hands.
It Takes a Village
They built a green dream team from the connections they made in the community: permaculture practitioners, nonprofit veterans, business leaders, farm and garden experts, talented youth with passion for nature, dozens of community volunteers committed to cleaning and greening the community, and everyone they could recruit with a passion for the land. Visionaries like those on the ForestR team are planting the seeds of a Green New Deal sprouting in the fertile ground of urban America.
This Village Has a Vision
The ForestR team envisions a world where humans and nature live in harmony and all living beings have a chance to thrive. We manifest that vision by regenerating our local communities through the cleaning of neglected lands, the ecologically regenerative planting and maintaining of public and private green spaces, and the creation of green jobs and green businesses to sustain these efforts and the people and communities engaged in them. We are developing and modeling programs that build long-term, local economies of scale based on ecological sustainability, food justice, and community responsibility. Such models can be adopted and implemented in any community.
How We Make it Happen
1. Clean: Cleaning the community one plot of land at a time.
Every Saturday, our cleaning teams spread out along local freeways to conduct litter collection and fire abatement work . These efforts lay the foundation for new growth, such as reforestation, pocket parks, and native landscapes. They also help employ youth in green jobs, and reconnect us all to nature.
2. Plant: Seeding new growth with sustainability in mind.
ForestR.org is planting trees, native plants, and food gardens throughout public and private spaces in San Francisco’s East Bay. Through our food security partnership with VeggiePalooza East Bay, we grow and distribute vegetable, herb, and beneficial plant seedlings, and support new gardeners in strengthening family and community food security at home. We regularly distribute free seedlings at the Saturday farmers market in Castro Valley and at our Saturday cleanup events. With VeggiePalooza and Kavvya Reddy Designs, we are creating a new program to support school-based seedling and garden programs. With Kavvya Reddy Designs, we are offering permaculture inspired plans and installations for homes, businesses, and public spaces -- and educational events to teach permaculture and other sustainability practices to everyone who wants to learn. Through this program, specialists teach eco-friendly gardening and landscape practices, test soil samples, assess land needs, and lay the foundation for long-term permaculture solutions. We are also supporting the Athenian School (Danville, CA) in transforming their drought-punished, 125-tree mixed fruit orchard into a thriving demonstration of regenerative design while engaging students and the Athenian community in the work.
3. Employ: Creating green jobs and providing job training to youth.
We are committed to uniting economic and environmental sustainability and justice by building employment and economic sustainability into everything we do. From hourly pay for highway cleanup work on weekends, to providing a nonprofit sponsor for our partners’ plant and soil programs, to creating products that support both the ForestR mission and the ecopreneurs who are implementing it with us, we are walking our green justice talk. Our programs also provide new business opportunities for local arborists, gardeners, landscape architects, maintenance workers, and farmers, to name just a few. Local student and community organizations are learning from field experts how to excel in these evergreen jobs of the future. Our current ecopreneurs in training include Yhzekel Kahsai, Kelly Xie, Brooke Eichman, Katy Xie, Lucca Dito, and Grazyna Fedorowicz.
Let's Grow a Regenerative World!
Donate today to manifest a thriving, clean and green future for Castro Valley, the East Bay, and beyond. Your donation will not only help clean, plant, and employ communities in the East Bay, but will also help test the land use models for replication in other communities.
Your donation can be targeted to a specific program or to general funds to grow ForestR's mission (your choice). If you want to support a specific program, please let us know in a comment accompanying your donation, and we will make it happen.
Here's just a small sampling of what your donation can do:
- $15 can pay a local youth for an hour of highway cleaning.
- $30 can pay a local youth for their entire 2-hour Saturday highway cleaning session.
- $160 can pay a 5-person team for their 2-hour Saturday highway cleaning session.
- $250 can purchase a permaculture site analysis and recommendations for a public space or a low-income family.
- $500 can support a biochar and mushroom compost soil remediation project for a future pocket park.
- $1,000 can establish a biochar micro-enterprise in which ForestR youth learn the microbiology of biochar and soil fertility, participate in making biochar, and learn to market and sell it to generate an income.
- $5,000 can fund the program and curriculum development work that's needed to document, package, and publish these programs and processes so they can be replicated in other communities.
- $10,000 establishes an entire self-sustaining, hands-on, school-based educational and experiential food security and green jobs program, teaching youth how to start seedlings, grow their own food, and become ecopreneurs by selling seedlings and related garden products and services.
100% of your donations go to cleaning, planting, and green economy efforts. Forestr.org is a 501c3 organization allowing you to write off every dollar of support you share.
Please give what you can, join us for a Saturday cleanup event or workshop, and share this fundraiser in all of your social media spaces.
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