This gentleman is Ron Finley AKA the Gangsta Gardener and a true inspiration
Outside Ron’s home was a strip of land that had been a dumping ground for years, old furniture, tvs, concrete and who knows what else, one day Ron decided enough was enough. He cleared the site and planted tomatoes, veg and fruit.
The City of LA didn’t care for this, they seemed to prefer people dumping rubbish rather than growing food or plants. They issued two warrants threatening to prosecute Ron if he didn’t remove the garden. Ron stood his ground and eventually he won the right to grow food on the waste ground. In fact the law in LA has now been changed to state that people can use the city’s verges and waste ground to grow plants.
The effect this has had in urban LA is incredible, others followed his example, it changed lives. As Ron put it there were lots of ways LA could try and kill you and it wasn’t just drive-bys with guns it was drive thru junk food doing most of the killing. Hardly anyone ate fresh fruit and veg, most people couldn’t afford to, now they can grow their own food, some even grow enough to share within the community subsidising what little income they have. It’s not just for food. It’s also for beauty, in the concrete jungle of LA a few patches of green and colour can make a big difference to people’s lives. People take detours so they can walk by the gardens or just sit and enjoy them.
Ron is now involved with city garden schemes all over America and the rest of the world. He’s spoken on Ted and there’s a short film which you can find out about here. If the film is not showing in your area and you want to see it you can request a viewing near you.
It’s worth listening to this man and now community and world leaders are doing just that.