You’ve heard of Gorilla Glue and Guerrilla Warfare? Both are a response to problems, but they are not always productive. But have you heard of the Guerrilla Gardener of South Central LA?

Here’s what is said on the beautiful website about his amazing project:

Ron Finley is a man who will not sit still and watch a problem take root. Having grown up in the South Los Angeles food desert, 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.

Image: Ron Finley at a streetside garden

Source: TED

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 deserts.

His dreams have been reshaped into a thriving garden of pumpkins, peppers, sunflowers, kale and corn. But more than being a guerilla gardener, Ron is a community leader. Determined to change South Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, he wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants kids to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening staples. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere. 1

Now, wait until you hear Ron speak for himself—a more compelling speaker would be hard to imagine!

Even if you are not a gardener at all, this video is so moving and full of possibility that we’re sure you’ll still be amazed.

Here’s a story from the always incredible TED YouTube channel about finding the tools for transformation:

*There are a few slight profanities, so use caution if you’re around sensitive ears. 

Via: TED 2

You can see much more about this project at RonFinley.com.

I love this particular fellow for his candor, passion, and genius. It made me appreciate the potential in my own gardening knowledge and realize how far people actually are from their food.

Image: rainbow over pond on a sunny day

Source: Dr. Lynda Ulrich

What if more public places were reclaimed by the public and used to grow food and flowers?

The video we shared today is one of my favorite TED Talks for the simple reason that this guy is “real”. There’s either too much cheesy or brutal “reality” on the web these days, or there’s not enough.  But this one hits the sweet spot that seems to strike at a common thread in all of us.

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!

–  Dr. Lynda

Want to meet more amazing thought leaders?

See who you can find in this category!

Thought Leaders on EWC

And make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss our next article!

Support us on Patreon!    or…   Check out our library!

Notes:

  1. Finley, Ron. “Meet Ron Finley.” Ron Finley. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 July 2015. <http://ronfinley.com/about/>.
  2. Finley, Ron. “Ron Finley: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA.”YouTube. TED, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 July 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzZzZ_qpZ4w>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.

In this Circle

The Unexpected Ways Surfing is Helping Youth Heal

35 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Life is tough, but it's a whole lot easier when we're around people who share similar experiences in a no pressure environment. Waves for Change is one of the organizations out there harnessing the power of sport and play to create environments where children are able to open up and heal!
Read More

Guerrilla Gardener Takes on South Central LA

15 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Meet Ron Finley; an amazing fellow who's come up with a better idea than battling over turf. How about using "turf" in a very old way! Take a look!
Read More

Why Would One Man Fill 600 Potholes?

5 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Now here's an inspiring story of turning a personal loss into wonderful progress for all! Thousands of people die every year just because of the potholes littering India's roads. And after his own son lost his life, this father became the change the country needs. Just check out the impact he's having...
Read More

Building Futures One Plié at a Time

25 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

In a place where violence reigns, girls are finding refuge in a surprising way—and it's all thanks to one amazing woman.
Read More

A Sanctuary for Costa Rica’s Strays

10 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Territorio de Zaguates is providing care to nearly a thousand dogs that have been taken off the streets of Costa Rica. Their story is a testament to the impact the love and determination of one person can have on others.
Read More

Living Beyond Expectations: Daniel Kish

15 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Despite not having eyes, Daniel Kish has taught himself to "see" with a human "eco-location" and he is teaching others. His story is a remarkable testament to what happens when we never get the memo about things that are "impossible" and instead make what we have work for us!
Read More

How Cecilia Chiang Changed Food in America

9 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

If you’ve ever enjoyed Chinese food in the United States, like potstickers and Peking duck, then we’d like to introduce you to Cecilia Chiang. She's the "Julia Child" of Chinese cuisine, and the story of how she changed the way Americans eat is as remarkable as her influence!
Read More

Old Cellphones: The Key to Stopping Climate Change

13 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Deforestation causes more emissions than all of the cars and trucks on our planet combined, so what can we do to stop it? Could the unlikely hero in this story be the old cell phone tucked away in your junk drawer? It is! Read on and you'll see problem-solving at its best!
Read More

Our Plastic Waste Problem: It’s Not About Perfection

18 minutes

[ #ConspiracyofGoodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

We all know that plastic waste is a huge problem, but what are we supposed to do about it? Turns out there's a lot we can do with just a few little changes!
Read More