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article imageVideo: Meet Ron Finley — a guerrilla gardener in South Central LA

By Anne Sewell     Mar 17, 2013 in Food
Los Angeles - Ron Finley is an artist and a designer, based in South Central LA. He is also a guerrilla gardener, planting food in vacant lots, traffic medians and along curbs in the area.
According to Finley, in his community, with all the fast food outlets, "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys." Finley refers to this area of the city as a food desert.
He explains that the city changed the name of the community from South Central LA to South Los Angeles, but of course this made no difference.
He says its the drive-thru fast-food stands that are contributing much more to the residents' poor health and high mortality rate, and that one in two kids are likely to contract a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes.
Finley has a vision. He wants to plant a healthy and accessible "food forest" for the people of his community. He started with a curbside vegetable garden in front of his own house. The city tried to shut it down, but Finley stood his ground and has begun a larger movement that provides not only nourishment, but also empowerment and education, along with healthy and hopeful futures, to residents, one urban garden at a time.
He has formed L.A. Green Grounds just for this purpose, the motto of the group being, "Growing, working, teaching: changing turf into edible gardens in South Los Angeles."
A few quotable quotes by Ron Finley, taken from the above TED talk:
“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus, you get strawberries.”
“We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is — if you ain't a gardener, you ain't gangsta.”
"Get gangster wit' yo shovel"
“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they're not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.”
A truly inspirational idea which could be envisioned in any city.
More about Ted, ron finley, la green grounds, Planting, Gardens
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