Who is Ron Finley? Ron Finley is an artist, designer and a gardener. Gardening as we know it, thanks to Mr. Finley, has been changed. Knowing how hard it was to get fresh food, Mr. Finley set out to fix the problem, only to change the way we look at fresh food. Ron planted vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home. It wasn’t long before started a revolution.
I wanted a carrot without toxic ingredients I didn’t know how to spell, says Ron.
The passion that Finley grew for his garden was enlightening to the community but seemed to disturb authorities. The City of Los Angeles owns the abandoned dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting.
After being cited for gardening without a permit, Finley fought back by starting a petition with other “green activist”.
Courageous and refusing to take no for an answer, the city finally left him alone after demanding the right to garden and grow fresh food in his neighborhood.
Determined to change South Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, he wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants kids to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening staples. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere.
The adamancy and passionate demeanor Mr. Finley displayed for this garden has captured the attention of many community residents, creative leaders and media voices.
“People need to realize how powerful the transformation of soil can be,” he said, with a hint of evangelism. “We’ve gotten so far away from our food source. It’s been hijacked from us. But if you get soil, plant something in it and water it, you can feed yourself. It’s that simple.”
The barren 150-by-10-foot median outside Mr. Finley’s house is what inspired his first act of crab grass defiance. In 2010, he planted a sidewalk garden to reduce grocery expenses and to avoid the 45-minute round-trip to Whole Foods.
Although the Gangsta Garden has changed and inspired the lives of many, Mr Finley has still been exposed to issues.
After numerous attempts by Finley for a loan modification with no success.
The land was sold to Strategic Acquisitions Inc. in a foreclosure. RFP faces eviction if they don’t purchase the property for $500,000. It was then that the birth of #savethegangstagarden was born.
In January 2017, the Ron Finley Project had raised $54,183, a little more than one tenth of its $500,000 goal.
Since 2010, Finley’s project has grown into more than just a garden. He now has offices, an educational center, and a propagation station for more urban edible landscaped. The project has become a beacon of hope for communities who believe in their right to healthy foods. The loss of this property is a continuation of the injustices perpetrated against the members of the South Central Los Angeles community. The people struggling with food insecurity around the world deserve better.
RFP needs to raise $500,000 to #savethegangstagarden that has become a symbol of healthy change for Los Angeles and cities all over.
The Ron Finley project has become a beacon of hope for communities who believe in their right to healthy foods. The loss of this property is a continuation of the injustices perpetrated against the members of the South Central Los Angeles community.