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Ron Finley, Gangster-Gardener

Grown up in South Central, fashion designer Ron Finley got fed up with the malnutrition and the overall bad health of his community. He decided to do something and started growing vegetables on a small public patch of unused green in his neighborhood. He invited people to harvest the food and to join him by cultivating more edible plants.

His idea became popular and now he is working together with his neighbors on front lawns and abandoned spaces. With his gang of gardeners, LA Green Grounds, he wants to make a difference in his neighborhood and in other cities where people forgot what it’s like to grow, cook and eat their own food. According to him in South Central more people are killed by drive-throughs than by drive-bys. People are dying of curable diseases because they have no access to healthy food that is affordable.

For Ron Finley growing your own food means to take your life and your health in your own hands. It means independence not only for oneself but for the whole community. His aim is it to change the image of a gangster from a violent thug to someone who does something good for his gang and his community.

Ron Finley spreads his message at symposiums, festivals on TV and in the internet. His TED Talk on urban gardening has gained over 1,200,000 views in just over three months.

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