Planting Justice fire & theft


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Fires and Theft But Still We Rise

Friends, we need your help.

This past month we were hit hard.

The first blow came when our contractor entered the Good Table and discovered the site was the target of a major theft operation. Overnight, every single piece of electrical equipment we’d had installed was removed and taken.

The crew worked fast and caused a substantial amount of damage in addition to what was taken. Months of work gone in the blink of an eye. This theft not only impacts our anticipated opening date, it left us with the unanticipated major cost of recouping what was stolen.

Only three days later, while we were still reeling from the hit on The Good Table, our 4 acre Mother Farm in El Sobrante suffered a horrible fire. We are very lucky and count our blessings that no one was injured, no animals were harmed and thanks to the quick and brave action of our farm team and land partners, the fire did not reach nearby homes. As filled with gratitude as we are for what was saved, we also deeply mourn what was lost to the fire. And the loss is great. The destruction, enormous.

Approximately 650 thriving fruit trees and shrubs gone within a matter of mere minutes, including more than 300 distinct varieties. Our Mother Farm’s enormous and important collection of rare and heirloom varieties provides propagation wood and supports job creation for our East Oakland Nursery, and organic produce for our community, so this loss is felt across the organization. In total, almost 40% of the farm burned. We lost the irrigation system on the affected acres, which presents a major challenge in the coming months until it can be replaced.

And if there’s a silver lining, it’s that everything we lost can be replaced. It’ll take a lot, but with your support the farm can become more bountiful, beautiful, and sustainable than ever before.

It’s painful to see the plants and land we tended with such care gone. However, the memories we created are forever. 6 years ago our staff came together in a beautiful effort to plant the first several hundred trees: apples, pears, persimmons, cherries and more. The prepping, planting and tending: efforts that challenged and united us. The love and resolve we summoned throughout the years to keep it going still sustain us today. We’re just as determined as ever: to keep going, to rebuild, to complete the vision.

And we’re asking for your help.

It’s going to take a lot to rebuild all that’s been lost.

Please consider making a donation today to help us in these efforts. Every dollar matters and no amount is too small. We’d also really appreciate you sharing our situation with your community and networks, we need all hands on deck and the more people that know, the more can help.


If you’re unable to support us with a donation at this time, would you consider volunteering with clean-up efforts at the farm? Our small (but very strong!) team has been working around the clock to recover and they could really use some extra hands. The next volunteer day is August 13th, you can sign up here: Volunteer Sign-Up

We’re down, but not out. With your help we’ll be back up in no time. We’re incredibly grateful for our community. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

with inextinguishable hope and determination,

Planting Justice staff


Planting Justice 5x1

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Planting Justice319 105 AvenueOakland, CA 94603


Just passing this bit of bad news along because the few times I ordered from them I always had great plants. I will continue to order from them if they can bounce back from this.


Need a dislike button for topics such as this.


Sad to see the theft and fire. I couldn’t find any news coverage of events. Why is @jeremybyington profile hidden?

Dislike as in you hate to hear such bad news or dislike as in you don’t like Planting Justice?

The bad news, haven’t bought from Planting Justice but they seem like a good outfit.

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Glad no one was hurt. I have never ordered from them but looks like they had interesting stuff and were trying to do good things. It is hard to imagine having to clean up the destruction and start from scratch. Very sad.


I’m a disillusioned idealist and from where I sit, idealism and business don’t always mix well. Business people are usually very focused on the practical matter of making money- resources need to be protected and insured.

I would have to know about this particular operation to have any basis for judging whether they were unlucky or poorly prepared, but the non-profits I donate to usually have a hard-nosed CEO who runs the operation like a successful business.

It’s the same thing with people who are repeatedly asking for help- sometimes they are victims of serial misfortune or even just one terrible setback that will follow them for life, but other times the expression, “your lack of planning is not my emergency” is apropos.


Theft is a major issue all across the US. High scrap prices coupled with high cost if living is the driving motivator for people to commit these types of crimes. Though i cant fault them for the theft or the fire, im sure they are insured for millions of dollars over their actual value, as most businesses are.

I hope that they can recover what they lost in the fire, and that their employees are able to continue working. Its always a sad day to see people’s livelihoods disappear through no fault of their own.


Not to mention escalating rates of addiction, post-pandemic. If only they didn’t have to steal to feed their addictions- for this approach, see Portugal. An addict will always obtain their drug, or die trying- at least until they find treatment. It is always most convenient to blame the addict, but, in the long run, not very practical.


I am the same. I live in a safe area but that still didn’t deter me from installing small, discreet security cameras on my property that ping my phone when motion is detected. They are cheap compared to a preventable loss. I use them for all sorts of things - who is at my front door, in areas I can’t see from the house (the other side of the barn, etc.), around entryways, and even in my chicken pen (I turn on at night). Desperate people live everywhere now and no place is immune from this sort of thievery.

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Totally agreeing.