“When you put beauty in a place that has none, that’s a game changer.”
— Ron Finley, the “Gangster Gardener”
Ron Finley caught the public’s imagination when he delivered a highly entertaining and inspirational TED talk in 2013. A self proclaimed ‘Guerrilla Gardener,’ Finley plants vegetable gardens throughout South Central LA in abandoned lots, among traffic medians, and along the curbs. 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.”
Since 2013, Finley has embarked on another project, The Ron Finley Project, which seeks to ignite 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 freshly grown food.
Ron is realizing his vision for community gardening and rejuvenation. He wants to grow this seed of urban gangsta gardening into a school of nourishment and change. He wants to help spread his dream of edible gardens one city at a time, so Americans can learn to transform food deserts to food forests. His idea is to help regenerate their lands into creative business models.
With the help of a dedicated team and executive producer John Legend, Finley has put together a documentary that helps to spread the word of Gangsta Gardening. Can You Dig This explores the urban gardening movement that is sprouting up through the concrete and colouring the urban landscape. As part of an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, people are planting to transform their neighbourhoods, changing their own lives in the process. Calling for people to put down their guns and pick up their shovels, these “gangster gardeners” are creating an oasis in the middle of one of the most notoriously dangerous places in America.
Can You Dig This follows the inspirational journeys of four unlikely gardeners, discovering what happens when they put their hands in the soil. This is not a story of science and economics. This is a story of the human spirit, inspiring people everywhere to pick up their shovels and “plant some shit.”
If you haven’t already seen this inspirational and entertaining Ted Talk by Ron Finley, then do yourself a favour and watch it — truly an inspiring talk and man.
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