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Can you dig it? This urban “Gangsta Gardener” is a real game-changer

3 min read

Good Stuff
Can you dig it? This urban “Gangsta Gardener” is a real game-changer
Source: GaiaHealthBlog.com

Ron Finley envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, children know their nutrition, and communities embrace the act of growing.

Ron Finley plants food and gardens in vacant spaces in South Central Los Angeles

Determined to change South Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, Ron Finley wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants children to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening staples. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere.

One man's mission to make gardening gangsta If you’ve heard of Ron Finley, it might be because you’re one of the almost 3 million people who’ve watched his 2013 TED talk about guerrilla gardening in South Los Angeles. Source: Facebook/ActionProductionsLondon

“Growing your own food is like printing your own money” – Ron Finley

Although a fashion designer by profession, Ron Finley found his true calling when he tried to buy some fresh fruit and veg in his South Central Los Angeles neighbourhood, and came away empty-handed. There were the usual choice of less-than-healthy fast-food outlets, but a shop where he could buy a piece of fruit? No luck. 

So in 2010, on a 150ft x 10ft (40m x 3m) roadside median outside his home, Finley planted some mustard greens, carrots, banana and tangerine trees, and more. Curious friends and neighbours came by to see what was happening, and Finley told them to help themselves to whatever they pleased. For many, this was the first fresh produce they’d eaten in literally years.

Finley taught neighbours how to grow their own gardens. Then he gave a speech that was posted online and went viral, reaching an audience outside Los Angeles. Now he’s traveling the world to spread the gospel and is planning a string of health food restaurants in underserved areas. “I put a seed in the ground in South Central,” he told Andy Simmons, for Reader’s Digest, “and next thing you know, I’m in Qatar.”

Source: ReadersDigest

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the roadsides. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where
Ron teaches both gardening and nutrition to anyone who is interested Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the roadsides. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.” Source: Facebook/TheRonFinleyProject
Ron Finley: Food Forest The story of a South Los Angeles edible garden planted in a surprising spot. Ron Finley constructed the garden the way he wishes his neighborhood could be. His vision of repurposing unused open space should inspire us all, and remind us of how, with a little creativity of vision, and willingness to get our hands dirty, we can remake spaces defined by asphalt and dead grass into productive places of beauty. Source: Youtube/HealthHappensHere

The Ron Finley Project

Join Ron as he embarks on his next project: igniting a (horti)cultural revolution! Ron envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, where cool kids know their nutrition and where communities embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food. Check out the Ron Finley Project on Facebook, or visit the website.

Ron is realising his vision for community gardening and rejuvenation. Let’s grow this seed of urban guerrilla gardening into a school of nourishment and change. Help spread his dream of edible gardens, one city at a time. It’s time for ordinary people to learn to transform food deserts to food forests. Help them learn to regenerate their lands into creative business models. Let’s make Ron’s philosophy mushroom across the country, and around the world. 

In part of this effort, Ron is planning to build an urban garden in South Central LA that will serve as an example of a well-balanced, fruit-and-veggie oasis – called “HQ.” Inspired by the idea of turning unused space such as parkways and vacant lots into fruitful endeavours, this garden and gathering place will be a community hub, where people learn about nutrition and join together to plant, work and unwind. 

HQ will create a source of jobs for local residents, and this plot of land will be a self-sufficient ecosystem of gardening, education, cooking, business learning and management. The community will get their hands dirty together, shovel together, work together and be healthy together. What’s not to love about the scheme?

See Ron’s TED Talk, watched by more than 3 million people, below.

Source: Facebook/TheRonFinleyProject

A guerilla gardener in South Central Ron Finley doesn’t sugar coat his inner city upbringing, even in this viral TED talk, which has been seen by nearly three million people. “This is South Central: Liquor stores, fast food, vacant lots,” Finley said. “Funny thing is, the drive thru is killing people faster than the drive by.” Source: Youtube/TED
Make an Impact

Spend time with Ron through Airbnb for just $199 per person

The Ron Finley Project was founded in 2008 and is dedicated to building a garden headquarters in South Central LA, that will serve as an example of a well-balanced, fruit-and-veggie oasis called “HQ.” This is a social impact experience ? where 100% of what you pay for this experience goes to The Ron Finley Project.