Home & Lifestyle, Food, Community & Government

Meet Your Instructor

Ron Finley

Lesson time 05:23 min

Community activist and self-proclaimed “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley introduces himself, explains why we should all have reverence for nature, and reveals how growing your own food gives you freedom.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Ron Finley Teaches Gardening


[BUSTLING CITY STREET] [MUSIC PLAYING] RON FINLEY(VOICEOVER): I was raised in South Central Los Angeles. People call it a food desert. For the last 10 years, I've worked to turn this food desert into a food forest. When you're in the garden, it seduces you. There's magic in creating something with your own hands. Gardening has taught me more about myself and this planet than I could ever learn from any book. Growing your own food gives you power. Once you have it, it's something that could never be taken away from you. [MUSIC PLAYING] I call myself the gangster gardener. People ask me, why? Because to me, gardening is gangster. It came from basically in his urban communities, people were using this whole gangster mentality, the violence, the misogynistic behavior, the be high, be drunk, be high, be drunk, to me, that was counter to what we should be, because if you're intoxicated, if you're high, that means you're not you're not woke. You're not you're not current. You're not clear. I wanted to change that. So I'm like, no. This is gangster. Having knowledge is gangster. Soil is gangster. Air is gangster as fuck. You can't get no more gangster than air. Mother nature serves us all, so we have to have this respect and help mother nature do what she do, rather than thinking it's just air, rather than taking air for granted. Everything on this planet is alive. We're not trained to do that, and that's where I think if you get a child at a very early age, and you show him the magic, the alchemy, the the amazing wondrous things that mother nature does with a tiny seed, all of a sudden, you take a seed, and you put it in the ground, and you have a 40-foot tree that gives you fruit forever. You want to talk about your rate of return? That's what we need to invest in. And that's the whole reason I started my Parkway garden, because I wanted to show people, the possibilities of what could happen with this particular land that was just being used for people's dogs shit and their dressers and toilets and whatever. They just discard all their trash on your Parkway. So I wanted to beautify this, but I put it outside because I wanted to show people that they could do the same thing, and this was a way that I wanted to change these so-called food deserts, where we could build community with each other by sharing in the works and sharing in the food. And doing this, this has happened all over the world. I say that gardens represents freedom to me, and that's part of it. So with my garden, I'm taking some of my power back, where I have control over a major part of my life. I think everybody should have the knowledge of how to feed themselves, and what food they're eating. I want people to know that you do have power, you do have a say so and that your life does matter. But first of all, it's got to matter to you, and that's what this is about. It's to show people that there's a big part of your life that you can design yourself ...

About the Instructor

When Ron Finley first grew a garden on a curbside dirt strip, he got cited—and then a warrant was issued for his arrest. He fought back, got the laws changed, and started a movement. Now the community activist and self-proclaimed “Gangster Gardener” is teaching you how to grow your own food, keep your plants alive, and find beauty and freedom in gardening no matter the size of your space. Start planting a revolution.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Ron Finley

Community activist and self-taught gardener Ron Finley shows you how to garden in any space, nurture your plants, and grow your own food.

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