TED Talks: Ron Finley Discusses Urban Gardening as Social Rebellion

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Ron Finley sees soil as his tapestry, something to be embellished with renewable food that brings his community together. He gave this week’s TED Tuesday talk, “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA” at TED 2013, and spoke about his passion project: creating vegetable gardens in his urban neighborhood inside abandoned lots, along curbs and in traffic medians. The organization he started in 2010, LA Green Grounds, is a grass-roots volunteer group in South LA. The group’s main goal is to prevent hunger and poverty and to improve the health of a community, where, Finley says, “the drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys.”

Ron Finley’s project to bring food to urban dessert of South LA (and around the country) has been captured in an award-winning documentary, Can You Dig This, produced by Grammy award-winning recording artist John Legend. For more information about where you can go to see the film or how you can bring the film to a theater near you, check out their screenings webpage.

He’s passionate about using his projects to teach children and teens about the importance of hard work and healthy eating. Watch the video above as Finley discusses Guerrilla Gardening.

Recommended Reading:

The Essential Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal (Penguin Books, 2011)

Urban-Farmer-CoverIf you’re interested in taking up gardening, but live in a city environment, look no further than The Essential Urban Farmer for guidance on how to pick a garden site, what to grow, and how to maintain your space.


Katie Hires is a book lover, pop culture nerd, and graphic designer. When she's not researching Game of Thrones fan theories, she's either reading or at home making pasta.

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