Food, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government

Planting a Revolution

Ron Finley

Lesson time 13:39 min

Ron talks about his personal story, the challenges of living in a food desert, the critical role of healthy food, and how you can use gardening to create community and rediscover what’s really important.

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

Topics include: Ditch the Drive-Through • Create Community • Change Your Values


[MUSIC PLAYING] - It's so funny. People ask me, how'd I get into gardening? It's-- the question is, how did gardening get into me? 'Cause I remember when I-- when I first started growing on the parkway. And it was just so personal. And I would get up at 5:00 in the morning, you know, in my pajamas or my robe. And I'd be out on the parkway planting sunflowers and arugula. And all of a sudden, it's 11:00 o'clock and you haven't showered, you haven't eaten, you haven't-- so literally, that garden seduces you. So my garden had been growing on the parkway for almost a year. And I got a complaint from a neighbor. Basically, I got a citation that turned into a warrant for my arrest. What the citation stated was illegal planting of the parkway. So they put something into motion that woulda had me in jail. I had a arrest warrant issued for me for planting on my parkway. So I had to go to court and deal with that a couple of times. I had to remove everything off the parkway. And I left it for years. So it was-- it was weeds. And everybody was asking me would I take care of it? I'm like, no. When I did take care of it, you know, I was gonna go to jail. So I just left it. Years later, I started an organization where we put in gardens for people in South Central for free. And I thought, OK, maybe-- it's been years. Maybe I should put my-- you know, do my parkway garden again. So I did it again. And it was up, I don't know, maybe for two years or more. And I got another citation. And this time, I fought it. I was like-- it ain't coming out. 'Cause last time, I had to go to court a couple of times and I wound up taking the garden out. You know, you have to take us-- take out everything. So, you know, I'm killing trees. And it just hurt me that I got so much positive energy from people that would come by from the community. And so the last time, I said, it ain't going down like that. Do what you gotta do. And I took on the system. We wound up getting the law changed, where you could plant edibles on your parkway throughout the City of Los Angeles. And that is really what started everything. My story and my experience lit a fire under people. And it's interesting because I have a guy I met recently at an event that I do. And he came up to me and he said-- he studied me in-- while he was inside. And he came up to me and said, you were my inspiration while I was there. I saw articles on you. Then I did a paper on you. And he said, when I get out, I wanna do with this guy's doing. I wanna to change-- I wanna fix my neighborhood, the part that I fucked it up. And, you know, it had me-- it made me cry, you know, 'cause you don't know-- you have no idea with media how many people that you're affecting, how many people that you're touching around the world. You know, I've had people, they're studying me at University of Jordan. And I would have never imagined that this is possible. So I want people to think...

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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