Ron Finley: Gangsta Gardener


Meet Ron Finley, a man who will not sit still and watch a problem take root. Having grown up in the South Central Los Angeles food prison, Ron is familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce. He knew what it’s like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato.

In 2010, he set out to fix the problem. Outside his front door, that is. Ron planted vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home. And quietly, carefully, tenderly started a revolution. I wanted a carrot without toxic ingredients I didn’t know how to spell, says Ron.

His was an exceptionally creative, cost-effective and simple solution; however, it was also an act of spirited rebellion that led to a run-in with the authorities.

The City of Los Angeles owns the “parkways” the neglected dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting. He was cited for gardening without a permit. This slap on the wrist did little to dissuade his green thumb. So Ron fought back. Hard. He started a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood and then, the city backed off.


This caught the eyes of creative leaders and media voices that lauded his courageous act of ebullient defiance. Ron has continued to share his story and vision with the world, giving a TED talk and planning many exciting ways to continue his involvement in mitigating Los Angeles food prisons.

Much Love to the Real Fathers out there!

This is the final scene from the 1992 film South Central. It stars Glenn Plummer in the role as Bobby. Bobby was a street thug who started a gang in South Central Los Angeles. Bobby ends up going to prison and is locked up for years. While in jail he meets a conscious black man that gives him books filled with knowledge and righteousness. Bobby finds out that his since he was locked up his son has been getting into criminal activity. The man in prison tells Bobby to go save his son from the cycle of violence too many black men face in the ghetto. He makes Bobby promise that he would give his life to save his son. Bobby meets up with his old gang buddy who has his son. A black man fighting to save the life of his son?? I don’t see that too much in films today. This scene is very powerful and touching at the same time. You might find yourself tearing up a bit.