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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.

Ron Finley
Teaches Gardening
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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[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...

Plant a revolution

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.


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

Ron Finley is such a breath of fresh air. Simple, empowering and to the point. Loved his masterclass. It made me fear less about plants. I now know what to do with my root bound houseplant and seedlings. And I'm thinking about how to layout my garden based on my microclimate! He's a total rock star.

This class is just what I needed. I know what to do now and will not be fumbling while hoping for the best. I look forward to an awesome garden this year and to sharing the harvest.

Ron has a way of explaining gardening to people in a way that MAKES SENSE. Gardening is for everyone. We all have this innate ability. Thank you!

It told me I already know stuff and get what I don't know. So go find the answer and do it:) My citrus trees have curling leaves and one is turning white. I will go figure it out and know better how to plant the next ones. I am gonna go get some branches from my neighbor versus spending $200. Thanks- you just paid for the whole subscription;)


Susan R.

That was a very thought provoking lesson. We absolutely need to change our values and I hope this class will be taught to many young minds to old dogs around the world. The entire education system needs to be reformatted and right now, while all systems are down, this is the time it should be done. I'm only one lesson in on my first Masterclass and I'm already certain that every student out there should be here and not behind some outdated biased book somewhere.

A fellow student

Values. It is so refreshing to hear a man who shares values. Gardens heal us. I still want to turn my city into a garden.

afsaneh J.

i just started watching this masterclass and I have to say.... I can tell it's going to be one fun ride!!! Ron seems to be an inspirational Plant Whisperer!!!!

Melanie R.

I am so thankful. Finding this class is a blessing. I feel refreshed to have found a like minded individual.


Damn, after the past two weeks it hit me so hard when he said that he would have to go to jail if he continued caring for his patch of plants. I mean he literally could have get killed by some passing cop while gardening on the streets. I'm sincerely crushed and uplifted at the same time.

laura R.


Karen T.

I had never heard of this man before, but halfway through this video, I'm totally on board. "We are taught to value diamonds and useless shit." Absolutely. "Why grow food? Why not grow food? it's food, you clown." YES. I am on board!


What an inspiring man and great speaker. He talks from the heart. I am going to live this course!

Michele T.

FINALLY! Someone who is passionate about righting the wrongs of the unnatural farming practices of the world. Thank you, Ron Finley, for saying what so many people feel. Big Ag screwing with our food resources has to stop and it begins with us taking control by putting a seed in soil. LOVE the videos and information you put out. Please continue your wonderful work in this world. What you say matters!

Gervis M.

I met you here in Milwaukee a few years back at Will Allens Growing power. I am recommitting to the soil and what's really important since I've retired. I got some ideas with some other cats we gonna get started on. Thank you.