Author: Romina Rooney • Date: April 28, 2016 • Appears in:
Guerilla Gardener Takes On South Central LA
"Growing your own food is like printing your own money" - Ron Finley
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA. He plants them in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs, you name it.
Growing up in South Los Angeles where it wasn't uncommon to have to drive 45 minutes just to get fresh tomatoes, Ron, wanted to change the food desert that was his community. Knows as the Gangsta Gardener, he described South Central LA as "home of the drive-thru and the drive-by". He could no longer sit idly by and watch this problem continue, so in 2010 he took matters into his own hands and started planting vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home.
This simple, creative and cost effective solution became an act of rebellion when the City of Los Angeles cited Ron for gardening without a permit. These “parkways”, the neglected dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting was city property and Ron was gardening where he technically wasn't suppose to. But Ron fought back, starting a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighbourhood. The city backed off and his fight gave voice to a larger movement. Since then he has created the Ron Finley Project which serves his communty by teaching people the power of growing your own food. Ron plans on building an urban garden in South Central LA that will serve as an example of a well-balanced, fruit-and-veggie oasis.
Check out his TedTalk below.