"If you ain't a gardener, you ain't a gangsta."
Growing up in South Los Angeles, where fresh produce and access to healthy food options were scarce at best, Ron Finley has started stirring up the community in an effort to turn such spaces deemed food deserts (or food prisons) into food forests. The abundance of fast food, he argues, is wreaking havoc on the health of our kids and communities. The solution is to make healthy foods available, and to do that, he turns to the basics of the environment he has at his disposal.
The logic is simple. If you plant it, it will grow. Finley has been on a mission to plant food in the empty and unused urban areas in South Los Angeles. When the city of Los Angeles blocked his efforts to grow food on the green areas surrounding the pavement of his home, Finley petitioned the community to fight back and maintained his right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood.
As Finley's personal cause has gained momentum, it has also expanded in scope. Now part of the Ron Finley Project, there are plans to build an urban garden in South Central LA, a community hub called "HQ." This fruit and veggie oasis is also envisioned as a space where people can learn about nutrition, and join together to work, plant, and unwind, with the goal of becoming "a self-sufficient ecosystem of gardening, education, cooking, business learning and management."
For more on Ron Finley's work and endeavors, check out his website and take a look at the media below.
Contributed by Raffi Sarkissian on 7/16/14