About us

Our Mission

We are a public serving, experiential learning center that showcases and foster sustainable living practices, urban homesteading, community resiliency & preparedness, social justice and artistic expression. This sustainability hub allows people to see solutions in practice and gain access to the knowledge and resources to empower them to take action in their own lives, neighborhoods, towns, cities, and bio-regions. We wish this green center will replicate into communities across the world through the integration with community centers, schools, park & recreation facilities and other local organizations.

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Meet the Stewards

Darien identifies most clearly as an abolitionist and a commoner, and works with abolitionist and commons praxes as frameworks and pathways for the collective struggle of mutual liberation through the construction of love-based, justice-filled communities of care, healing, generational accountability, radical truth, and decolonization. Darien feels his work on this Earth emerging in the construction of a critically integrated political solidarity economy based fundamentally on community autonomy and self-determination, and the equitable reclamation of land and wealth to combat the enclosure of market-driven privatization and dispossession for profit-generating extraction and exploitation. This means centering reparations and transformative justice as essential and uncompromising elements of our cooperation to dismantle systems of economic, social, and political power upheld by white supremacist settler-colonial patriarchy for the benefit of neoliberal capitalism. This work is internal, interpersonal, structural, and historical. He is joyous and blessed to catalyze a part of this transformation with the PLACE familia. 

Darien Acero

Event Steward
Grace Johnson is an environmental educator and natural textile dyer born in Arizona. She holds a background in environmental policy and sustainability, advocating for the intersection of art and sustainability of both the land, sea, and self, and the role earth-care stewardship – particularly for young girls of color. After 5 years in international development and a change of heart, she dove into her passion for intercultural community-led change. She is a strong believer of radically designed solutions and her work with youth, socially-engaged art, and education has brought her to communities (and gardens) in the US and beyond. She loves plants, dancing, and the deep stories embedded within.

Grace Johnson

Event Steward
Khadija (she/her) is an urban farmer, environmental educator, and systems thinker. Born in Zambia, she immigrated to the US with her family when she was five and landed in good ol' NJ. Sharing ancestral wisdom via stories, food, and plant kin easily excite her. She’s eager to harness the power of community and co-create the next chapter of PLACE with all of y’all! If you spot her hum-whistle-singing around PLACE, say hi!

Khadija Khansia

Community & Garden Steward
Larissa (She/Her) is a ceremonialist, healing arts practitioner, and rhythm keeper. She is a student of her Womb, the Earth, Sun, & Moon. She is most interested in reconnecting to her ancestral lineages and relearning ancient ways of being. She was born in Riverside, CA, but has lived in many places. She is the first official Social Media Steward at PLACE and offers moonthly earth-honoring ceremonies at PLACE.

Larissa Arambula

Social Media Steward
Maya has a background in video production, journalism, storytelling, and music. After living most of the last 10 years in Amsterdam and London, she’s happy to be back in the Bay Area, nestling into the creative, committed, future-world-building community in and around PLACE – offering admin, media, and outreach support. Maya loves funk flute, full moons behind tree branches, and telling video stories that bring dire attention to sustainable and innovative living practices.

Maya Curry

Admin Steward

Neeka Salmasi

Hearth Steward
Paola is the descendant of Colombian campesinxs, first-generation born in the states, spanglish-speaker and daughter of immigrants. She is committed to the process of decolonization by working on land-based reclamation, food sovereignty, and playing/dancing cumbias. She values deepening human networks, preserving culture and ancestral stories, and finding groundedness with the guidance of the natural elements.

Paola Diaz

Event Steward
Sai is a designer & coder who is currently the CEO of Crowdcast, a live streaming platform for sharing knowledge. Born in Bangladesh he immigrated to the US at a young age and learned technical skills to support himself early on. Having lived in several intentional communities over the years he’s combining his love for community with his skills in tech for PLACE.

Sai Hossain

Tech & Finance Steward
Thiago has a background in event planning, construction, and management. His family is from Brazil and migrated to the US when he was 12 years old. He has a AA in art, is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. He is most comfortable behind turntables as Dj EvolT creating tunes for people to groove to. He is a jack of all trades, always innovating. He loves and respects our planet, enjoys traveling, has traveled to many states, embracing various cultures throughout the country, and looks forward to meeting you.

Thiago Andrade

Site Steward

Meet the Founders

In 2015, Jonathan co-founded the Cultural Action Network (CAN) in San Francisco, CA, an arts and culture advocacy organization that highlighted arts organizations that have been displaced or are at risk of displacement as a result of the runaway gentrification of San Francisco. CAN organized active resistance to reckless development and won significant concessions and Community Benefit Agreements to various projects including the “Beast on Bryant”, as a result of this community based activism. In 2012, Jonathan co-founded Golden Gate Co-Housing, Oakland, CA, a permanently affordable co-housing project for community members working to make the world a better place. In January 2011, Jonathan co-founded PLACE for Sustainable Living, in Oakland, CA, a public serving experiential learning center to showcasing and fostering sustainable living practices, urban homesteading, community resiliency & preparedness, social justice, food security and artistic expression. From 2005-2012, Jonathan co-founded and toured the country with the Sustainable Living Roadshow, a touring educational caravan promoting sustainable solutions at music festivals, universities and community events. As the brainchild & Big Mouth Barker behind the Conscious Carnival, Jonathan has helped create eco-themed carnival games which engage participants with entertaining and fun activities while they learn about a variety of issues concerning the environment and sustainability. Another current edu-tainment project is the Big Tadoo Puppet Crew, which is a puppet troupe that creates and performs politically and environmentally conscious puppetry. Other projects that were co-founded and catalyzed by Jonathan include the Esperanza Sustainability Center, an educational center for urban agriculture, sustainable living strategies, and artistic expression, the Clean Fuel Caravan Coalition, a collective of clean fuel advocates sharing resources and information about renewable fuels, the Mission Village Market, a dynamic Art, Farm & Flea Market, and CELLspace, a collaborative arts center which provided a safe and supportive public environment for the exploration of art, education, performance and community building.

Jonathan Youtt

Nik is currently focused on social design and metrics in regenerative management and development for large scale ecosystem restoration. He has a BAS degree in Ecological Design from Colorado College. He was a teacher for 8 years at Merritt College and the San Francisco Art Institute where he helped develop programs in Regenerative Design and Permaculture. He co-founded two art and design collaboratives, the award winning Monsoon Arsenal and the DIG Cooperative. He went on to co-found the Oakleyville Cooperative which is home of the democratically run non-profit arts and ecology center PLACE. He can also be found organizing naturalist excursions with the a cooperative of Naturalists known as the California Center for Natural History.

Nikolas Wulff Bertulis

Regenerative Design
Veronica Ramirez, born to Chilean immigrant parents, grew up in Redwood City, CA. As co-founder and co-director at PLACE for Sustainable Living, her role has covered a wide range of responsibilities from organizational and educational development, special programs on Placemaking, community outreach and partnership development. Her background in marketing and design has also been a vital contribution to PLACE’s presence creating much of the visual content and design. Prior to PLACE, Veronica was a core member of another grassroots organization called, The Sustainable Living Roadshow, a traveling eco-carnival touring group. Her main roles were Art Director/Designer for the organization and Community Art Garden Lead Creative for her project Earth Peace Mandala Project, a community-based sacred art project she has led since 1998 for various events. Its intention is to be a focal point for community to gather, co-create, share, pray and celebrate together. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Planting Justice, a local organization with a strong mission toward food and criminal justice issues. In addition, she has been a member of The North Oakland Restorative Justice Council (NORJC) since 2013, which is a non-profit grassroots organizing group that addresses issues of community violence through a land-based restorative justice lens. Veronica is an accomplished graphic designer, community organizer, and peace activist. She is strongly informed and motivated by her curious nature to bring community together via her love for the natural world and the magic that results from the co-creative spirit we each possess.

Veronica Ramirez

Co-Director & Placemaker in PLACE

Artist in residence

Ernesto Hernández Olmos

Ernesto Hernandez Olmos is a multi-talented artist, specializing in many cultural art forms of the pre-Columbian peoples of Meso-America including music, dance, storytelling, sculpture, painting and making traditional instruments out of wood and clay. Ernesto was born in Oaxaca, México, and received his degree in art at “La Escuela de Bellas Artes” of the University of Oaxaca, and is an accomplished muralist with many standing artworks around the Bay Area. Ernesto is founder and director of Xaguia Gura and co-director of Balamoatl, projects dedicated to the diffusion of indigenous Meso-American culture, music, and dance. Ernesto has been collaborating with la Clinica de la Raza and the World Wide Indigenous sciences network as a Cultural Practitioner for 7 years, at la Cultura Cura in Fruitvale Oakland and San Rafael with Canal Welcome Center, serving Woman and Youth circles.

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