Planting with purpose at Santiago/St James, Oakland

More than 50 people came together Saturday to plant trees and create a community garden at Santiago/St. James in East Oakland. Members of Santiago/St John's, Oakland supplied the hard work, together with Episcopal Impact Fund board members and community volunteers. The volunteers, led by our community partners, Urban Releaf and Indigenous Permaculture, planted 16 trees and filled and 15 large garden containers with soil, ready for planting.

The tree planting and garden projects are primarily funded by a grant from the Climate Investment Fund to the Episcopal Impact Fund, as part of the state's effort to combat climate change and serve disadvantaged communities. The new trees will sequester a significant amount of carbon and beautify the neighborhood. The garden will grow healthy produce for congregants and neighbors of Santiago and supply the on-site food bank.

   

The day started with a blessing from the Rev. Mauricio Wilson, rector of St Paul's, Oakland, and a Native American saging ceremony led by Guillermo Vasquez of Indigenous Permaculture. Kemba Shakur and Kevin Jefferson explained the importance of the urban tree canopy and Urban Releaf's mission to plant trees in underserved parts of Oakland. The morning concluded with a festive barbecue, courtesy of the people of Santiago and Melissa Ridlon.

Many thanks to the Confirm, Don't Conform class and men's group at St John's for their fundraising and digging prowess! Their work and the work of all the volunteers will help Episcopal Impact fund meet the 20% match required under the state grant.

   

Before and After

Next steps will include garden maintenance and additional tree planting in Oakland. If you or your congregation would like to be involved or learn more please contact Kathleen Piraino, kpiraino@episopcalimpact.org.