There are approximately 50 million Americans currently on food stamps or receiving some form of government assistance due to poverty. Ron Finley is a self proclaimed Guerilla Gardener from South Los Angeles, which he says is a food desert. Ron was disillusioned with the lack of fresh produce in the area so he took action to help rectify the situation, helping educate and empower others to do the same.
“I wanted a carrot without toxic ingredients I didn’t know how to spell.” -Ron Finley
Ron has been building a profile and getting some attention around some of the issues people face in America with his “gansta” styled guerrilla gardening. In a 2013 New York Times article he was quoted as saying, “People need to realize how powerful the transformation of soil can be,” he said, with a hint of evangelism. “We’ve gotten so far away from our food source. It’s been hijacked from us. But if you get soil, plant something in it and water it, you can feed yourself. It’s that simple.” (1)
Ron volunteers for the organisation he founded, L.A. Green Grounds which is a grass-roots, all-volunteer based group in South Los Angeles. The group taps into a diverse range of people bringing them together to replace residential front lawns into edible gardens to be shared with the neighborhood. They focus on serving geographic areas with scarce access to fresh, affordable food. So far they have installed 27 edible gardens. L.A. Green Grounds advocates growing your own food, occupying open space and general wellness in South L.A. and beyond. They have active members who attend city council meetings to reform or repeal bills that prevent access to clean, local, edible gardens. They participate in community gatherings to table, talk, work, chat and act about food justice, anti-hunger, anti-poverty and environmental movements in the city. (2)
I would like to share with you one of the most inspiring and entertaining TED talks I have seen relating to our current food system which provides a grass roots practical solution to many of the food related challenges. 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.(3)