Ron Finley: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA


I regularly keep tabs on the latest TED talks, since I find many of them both engaging and thought provoking. One of the best I’ve seen in a long time is by Ron Finley, an artist and designer raised in South Central LA.

In his talk, Finley describes how he was inspired to address some of the pressing problems plaguing his community, including lack of access to healthy food and obesity, by creating a “Food Forest” in front of his house. Through this simple act, which the city initially objected to after someone complained about it (crazy huh?), Finley promotes healthy eating, the joys of gardening and the ability of individuals to help transform their neighborhood into productive places of beauty.

Four of my favorite quotes from the talk:

  • “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”
  • “I’m an artist. Gardening is my graffiti. I grow my art.”
  • “To change the community you have to change the composition of the soil.”
  • “Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do.”

Take 11 minutes out of your day and watch this video. I think you’ll be as inspired by Finley’s work as I am and perhaps motivated to get involved with his organization, LAGREENGROUNDS.ORG, or start your own.