Posts Tagged ‘Ron Finley’

Saving Ron Finley’s Gangsta Garden

I’ve previously posted about Ron Finley, aka “the Gangsta Gardener,” the world’s most famous “guerrilla gardener,” but I wanted to make a special post today as Ron and his team fight to save the beloved South Central Los Angeles community garden that has inspired so many people worldwide. Not only has Ron kept urban youth out of gangs and helped turn around health issues that directly stem from poverty — by  addressing the problem of food deserts in his area, he also started a movement with supporters and activists all around the world.

Here’s the TED talk that put Ron on the radar of so many movers, shakers, social justice warriors, and innovators:

Ron Finley’s ripple effect is huge! Along with Colette at Bealtaine Cottage, Ron was a key inspiration for me to accept the 2012 challenge of this crazy, horribly broken and ugly yard in Goshen. As David and I prepare voluntarily to transition elsewhere, Ron faces unwelcome and massive pressure from Strategic Acquisitions, Inc., who have threatened to evict him and destroy the entire Gangsta Garden if they don’t pay $500,000 by the end of this week. I’ve already signed the petition, donated, sent Reiki and also wrote a letter on their behalf to Strategic Acquisitions. Amazingly, they have raised over $318,000 from gardeners, fans, and high profile supporters like Bette Midler and Jason Mraz.

But they need more. If you click through to the latest update, you’ll find quotes from inspired people from around the world, including part of my letter urging Strategic Acquisitions to consider the opportunity for modeling community capitalism. It turns out that Maureen (“Mo”), the campaign manager knows Goshen well! Small world, but she visited here many years ago and wrote to personally thank me not only for my letter but also because she knows that Goshen “needs the love” I’ve poured into it these past 4.5 years.

Ron and his community have poured love into the Gangsta Garden for longer than that, and they’ve built a network of kindness, support and empowerment. This is much more than a garden. It’s a movement, and I hate to see some rapacious corporation devour all that love, nature, better health, and effort. If you feel so moved, please consider signing their petition, donating and/or sending a whole lotta love and Reiki their way. They’ve done a beautiful thing in South Central L.A. and touched hearts around the world.

I find myself crying as I type this, wanting so much to see humanity rise beyond those who would control our food, bodies, minds, hearts and souls. People like Ron and his Gangsta Garden crew have overcome so much and been the change they wish to see in the world. May they find whatever they need and receive fourfold blessings from this ordeal.

Heartfelt thanks and blessings to anyone who feels led to offer your support.

“The Future of Food: Urban Bio-Economies in Europe and America” at the Nanovic Institute

David and I are excited to attend a symposium on Wednesday, May 8 at Notre Dame: “The Future of Food: Urban Bio-Economies in Europe and America.” We’re especially excited to see Will Allen of Growing Power, as well as Ron Finley of LA Green Grounds.

“6ft 7 inch former professional basketball player Will Allen is now one of the most influential leaders of the food security & urban farming movement. His farm and not-for-profit, Growing Power, have trained and inspired people in every corner of the US to start growing food sustainably. This man and his organization go beyond growing food. They provide a platform for people to share knowledge and form relationships in order to develop alternatives to the industrial food system.Will Allen works with at-risk urban youth, helping them learn farming skills for a more positive life trajectory and food system “that works for everybody.” On Wednesday he’ll talk about “The Good Food Revolution.” You can meet him in this video introduction to Growing Power:

“Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where ‘the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.'” On Wednesday, he’ll be talking about “The New Urban Food Forest,” but you might enjoy his talk here about food deserts and what we can do about them:

Future of Food Nanovic Institute

(You can click on the flyer above and then click again to view it full-size.)

Here’s the Nanovic Institute’s event description:

With a grant from the European Union Delegation to the United States, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies invites you to celebrate Europe Day by attending a symposium to be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, entitled “The Future of Food: Urban Bio-Economies in Europe and America.” The event (with the exception of lunch) is free and open to the public.

The purpose of this convivial event is to gather farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, policy-makers, academics, and members of our wider community to discuss new developments in urban food systems. As we know, the world’s population is now more urban than rural, a shift that has had enormous effects on food production and distribution. When it comes to feeding urban areas, what are the most pressing problems, ingenious approaches, and sustainable new practices?

Lunch will be a very special Farmers Market feast, sourced entirely from local farmers and purveyors and designed especially by Chef Don Miller, Notre Dame Food Service Executive Chef.

[Note from Laura: Registration for the luncheon buffet ended on May 1, but the event is still free and open to the public. This is a phenomenal gathering of great speakers, community outreach, visionaries and people embodying the idea that “the problem is the solution.” I feel passionate about food security and and food as a social justice issue, so I’m really looking forward to gathering and brainstorming more ideas to implement at the local level. Please join us if you can!]