THE GANGSTER GARDENER RON FINLEY
WHO IS RON FINLEY ?
PROVIDING FOR YOURSELF, PROVIDING FOR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD- THAT”S GANGSTer- Ron Finley
Last year I fell in love with the concept of “ the gangster gardener” when I saw the installation Garden by Ron Finley at the Beyond the Streets art exhibition in Chinatown, L.A. Having grown up in the South Central Los Angeles food prison, Ron is very familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce. He knew what it’s like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. So in 2010, he set out to fix the problem, outside his front door.. Ron planted vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home. And carefully started a revolution.
His was an exceptionally creative, cost-effective and simple solution; however, it was also an act of spirited rebellion that led to a run-in with the authorities. Los Angeles owns the “parkways”, the neglected dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting. He was cited for gardening without a permit. This slap on the wrist did little to dissuade his green thumb so he fought back. and Hard. He started a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood and the city backed off.
This caught the eyes of creative leaders and media voices that lauded his courageous act of defiance.
His dreams have been reshaped into a thriving garden of pumpkins, peppers, sunflowers, kale and corn. But more than being a gangsta gardener, Ron is a community leader.
Determined to change South Central Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, he wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants Children to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening Crap.. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere.