This past week I was introduced to Ron Finley through Facebook and was encouraged to look him up and watch his TED talk. A self-proclaimed Guerilla Gardener, Ron has led the South Central, CA urban agriculture movement working to provide fresh produce for the neighborhood and the key to change for the people of the city. “To change the community you have to change the composition of the soil. We are the soil,” says Ron during his ten minute TED talk. Unsatisfied with the conditions and the limited food options available to the people within the cities boundaries, Finley took his disappointment to the stretch of grass in-between the street and the sidewalk. Converting this curbside garden created some controversy within the city politics, but was refuted and accepted as a positive act of defiance. This was only the first step. Ron has since increased the size of his garden and spread to many more locations, providing hope through growth around the city. “See, I’m and artist. Gardening is my graffiti. I grow my art.” Ted is working to not only eliminate the food desert that he and 26.5 million other people in the US live in, but also working to beautify the cityscape and provide opportunity for the members of these communities.
Through this TED talk, Ron works to appeal to those who want to enact change through doing. He is not interested in sitting down with people and talking about things that need to be changed, he wants people to pick up a shovel and join him in getting their hands dirty. Although the TED event may not be the best place to find people who are looking to kneel in the dirt, the message he’s trying to get across is an important one. Talking behind closed doors can only get us so far, putting the ideas to work however, can help us finally begin to fix these places. Unlike many of urban farming doings I have shared, this one is not asking for serious devotion of time, instead he is presenting an opportunity for nearly anyone. This is important because it can be understood and acted upon by a much larger population.
I am curious whether or not this movement will really catch on as I hope it will, or whether it will remain an underground movement coming from within the city.
Also check out LA Green Grounds website. http://lagreengrounds.org/