by Ruth Manuel-Logan, NewsOne
Ron Finley (pictured) is concerned that drive-thrus in South Central Los Angeles are killing Blacks moreso than drive-bys, so he decided to wage his own personal crusade by combating those greasy burgers and fries with healthy vegetable gardens that he plants himself, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Finley is an artist by trade who decided to take up gardening in order to provide his community with fresh organic vegetables. The “guerilla gardener” felt compelled to somehow counteract the damage that was being caused by the fast-food eateries in his area of the city that, he says, are contributing to the high-mortality and poor-health rates that plague the Black community.
The visionary began his “food forest” efforts by planting a curbside veggie garden in front of his own home, which the city tried to put an end to but failed. Finley fought the system, won, and now his vision has expanded with a movement that includes not only planting but education and empowerment techniques that he teaches to community residents.
Finley took his vision even further by creating L.A. Green Grounds, a grass-roots organization whose motto is “growing, working, teaching: changing turf into edible gardens in South Central L.A.” According to the green-thumbed urban gardener, who appeared on TED Talk, “If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.”
Finley has a message for those people in his community: Put down that Big Mac and “Get gangster wit’ yo’ shovel!”