(858) 880-0252 [email protected]

The Watershed Nursery









What they do

The Watershed Nursery, founded in 2001 by Diana Benner and Laura Hanson, provides quality native plant material and services to nearby Northern and Central California restoration projects.

This centrally located Bay Area nursery is open to the public and provides plant materials and services for restoration projects in the region. The Watershed Nursery works with individual homeowners, installation contractors, government agencies, and nonprofits that promote habitat restoration.

Restoration project services include collecting seeds native to the project area, processing and sprouting them at the nursery, and delivering the propagated plants to the restoration site. The team also offers project monitoring and maintenance services.

Why we invested

The purpose of the Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund is to support businesses throughout the U.S. that want to transition to employee ownership and need capital to finance the transition and transaction.

Laura and Diana began contemplating an employee-owned business model in 2019. As the team noted, “The community structure of an employee-owned business is in line with the nursery’s general mission of building and contributing to healthy ecosystems, which, of course, includes people too.” Project Equity is supporting the nursery throughout its ownership transition.

The Fund first provided a forgivable loan to support The Watershed Nursery in including translation services in their transition to employee ownership. The team felt the importance of integrating language justice in the transition process and in the culture and practices of the worker-owned cooperative to ensure all workers are engaged meaningfully, and can fully participate in and benefit from shared ownership.

Impact Segment

Employee ownership

Impact Vehicle

Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund

Date of Investment

October 2023

Impact Geography

Richmond, CA


Diana Benner
Project Supervisor

Year Founded