By Dylan Charles, Editor | Waking Times
One of the most inspiring, and most real, people to have emerged as a popular hero in recent years is asking the world for help to save a one-of-a-kind urban gardening project.
Ron Finley, affectionately known as the Gangster Gardener, changes lives with his passion for urban farming, a task he took on when one day he realized fast-food and low-quality processed foods were killing his community, South Central Los Angeles, inflicting far more damage than drugs and crime.
“The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys. I live in a food prison… It’s all by design just like prisons are by designed. I just got tired of being an inmate. So I figured, let me change this paradigm, let me grown my own food. This is one thing I can do to escape this predestined life that I have unwillingly subscribed to.” – Ron Finley
His efforts have inspired and brought forth a new generation of gardeners, something the world needs now more than ever before as biodiversity in food seed is collapsing and companies like Monsanto and other agrochemical giants are poisoning the earth and monopolizing the global farming industry.
“Ron envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, where cool kids know their nutrition and where communities embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food.” [Source]
In 2013 he gave a TED talk explaining his motivation and passion for turning food deserts into food forests while educating youth and serving his community in a simple, but truly revolutionary way.
The Ron Finley Project (RFP) is headquartered in Los Angeles, now home to a massive edible community garden and a center for urban renewal with classrooms and a host of community projects. The building itself has been sold to a real estate investment firm and now the project is faced with the choice of purchasing it or finding a new location, something that would be a colossal setback for this grass roots movement, and he needs your help to save it.
“Over the last few years, the owner of the RFP property has been battling with the bank and has made several attempts to receive a loan modification to no avail. The bank recently foreclosed on the property and sold it to Strategic Acquisitions Inc. RFP has requested that Strategic Acquisitions allow them to continue operating from the location as to sustain with the important work they are doing in the community. The only solution they have been offered is to purchase the property, otherwise, face eviction.
HQ has grown into more than just a garden since 2010, including RFP offices, an educational center and a propagation station for more edible urban landscapes. The loss of this property is a continuation of the injustices perpetrated against the members of the South Central Los Angeles community and persons struggling with food insecurity around the world.” [Source]
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise $500,000 to support the purchase of this facility, making it the permanent and self-owned capital of the urban gardening movement and a symbol of change.
“Over the years, the Gangsta Garden has evolved into more than a symbol of healthy change for urban communities including an educational site, a propagation station for more edible landscapes and the formal headquarters for The Ron Finley Project (RFP). Furthermore, it has become the focus of study for local K-12 classrooms and universities worldwide including the renowned institutions of MIT, Harvard and University of Southern California.
Currently, RFP is fighting for their headquarters; the very same location that ignited a good food revolution when Finley took back city land and planted the seeds to cultivate happy and healthy communities. After numerous attempts by the property owner for a loan modification with no avail, the land was sold to Strategic Acquisitions Inc in a foreclosure.
RFP has requested that Strategic Acquisitions allow them to continue operating from the location as to sustain the important work they are doing in the community. The only solution they have been offered is to purchase the property, otherwise… they face eviction.
Finley took on city lawmakers in 2010 sparking a worldwide food justice revolution. Now the world needs to rally behind him!
RFP needs to raise $500,000 to #savethegangstagarden. If you have been touched by RFP or support access to healthy food for ALL communities please donate what you can and share widely.” [Source]
There is also a petition at Change.org to help save the project. Please visit and sign here.
Real, meaningful change in our world can only come by reestablishing a connection to nature, to food, and to life. Few individuals have been able to have such a broad impact in this regard in our time, and the work of Ron Finley is important enough to support and maintain. In our corporate, make-a-dollar world, revolutionary acts like farming and teaching others to farm are the underdogs. This is not a call for handouts, it is a call to support an idea whose time is long overdue.
About the Author
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at [email protected].
This article (Gangsta Gardener Ron Finley Asks the World for Assistance to Save His Garden) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.