"I got tired of driving 45 minutes to get an apple that was impregnated with pesticides. LA leads the USA in vacant lots. That’s 20 Central Parks (New York). That’s enough space to plant 725,000,000 tomato plants. I grew up there , I raised my sons there. I refused to be part of this manufactured reality…I manufactured my own reality.
I’m an artist…gardening is my graffiti, I grow my art.
To change a community, you have to change the composition of the soil…we are the soil. You’ll be surprised how kids can be affected by this. It made me ashamed to see people this close to me that were hungry, and it reinforced why I do this.
When asked “aren’t you afraid people are gonna steal your food?”) “Hell no I ain’t afraid, that’s why it’s on the street!!!!!”
"I want people to take it [the food], but at the same time, I want them to take back their health. If kids grow kale, they eat kale!!!! If kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes!!!!” But if none of this is presented to them, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them." - Ron Finley
Ron Finley is a successful clothing designer and artist from Los Angeles whose life got a little dirtier when he realized something strange about his neighborhood.
He found that South Central, Los Angeles was overwhelmingly filled with “Liquor stores. Fast food. Vacant lots,”but had no great place to get fresh, affordable produce. “People are losing their homes, they’re hungry, they’re unemployed, and this area is so underserved with nutritional food.” Finley was quoted in an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
Since he’d just taken a course on gardening at the Natural History Museum, he decided to put his newfound knowledge to good use and planted a garden in a small strip of grass by his house with the help of his teacher, Florence Nishida and some friends.
Even though Finley used a small plot of land — about 10 feet wide, 150 feet long according to the Los Angeles Times — the city still gave him a citation, which eventually turned into a warrant. His garden, filled with tomatoes, peppers and chard, celery, kale and herbs, had been deemed illegal.
Ron Finley TED profile: http://www.ted.com/speakers/ron_finley.html