South Central Los Angeles is a food desert - an area filled with liquor stores, fast food chains and vacant lots. Tired of driving 45 minutes to buy food that is not chemically treated, Ron Finley decided to turn some of those unused plots, starting with the patch in front of his house, into a food forest. With obesity rates 5X higher in South Central than in Beverly Hills, a neighborhood only 8 to 10 miles away, Finley realized that food is the problem, but is also the solution. "The drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys." Finley and a group of volunteer gardeners from all over Los Angeles are changing that, one lot at a time. "Growing your own food is like printing your own money."

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  • Michelle

    I am so grateful to see people who do this kind of thing. I also am like this in N. Cal and have recently joined the Methodist Church because they like to feed people. My dream is for the Methodist to get involved in local food production to use on their tables. Blessings....

  • Shelia

    I was so pleased to see a man who knows where his food comes from. I am so inspired to share his message to as many as possible. Inspired to share my garden with others in my area. Inspired to limit my time in the grocery store and to used the food I have purchased to make it stretch. I will share as much with my grandchildren as possible.

  • indira

    Loved his down to earth (pun of course) approach to the problem and it's solution. The message he gives is in plain speak that arises from his passion and in a language that reaches out without the fluff of some business guy!

  • Michelle Fincher-Brown

    What inspired me about this video? So, many things. First, the fact that I've been thinking about doing this in my neighborhood for quite sometime; have not done anything, because it seems like a daunting task. Second, that Ron is doing it, and it's catching on. Third, how can i get in touch with his organization for info, inspiration, suggestions, etc.

  • R.B.Dympep

    What a powerful motivation to do something for the community and the concern for healthy food and food security. The concept of opening farmers' market in the vicinity where they can bring their own home grown crops and pass on to those in need at affordable price is quite encouraging. It's true, sustainability has to be sustained but not free distribution of the produce but at a price. To secure a needed commodity with payment is much much more sweeter and with satisfaction as it comes at a price from a well-earned money. May such tribes exist in all countries of the world. Thanks to Ron Finley & his team of volunteers.

  • Shirley Marsh

    'The Power of One' - a wonderful man with a powerful mission! Hope the ripples spread far and wide Finley! I'd like to see agriculture feed it's own people first and any surplus sent to export. In Australia our farmers are having to plough produce into the ground and bulldoze their fruit trees and vines because the supermarkets only buy cheap, contaminated foods that have come from halfway across the world. Not good nutrition; not good for health; not good for local industry. So sad.

  • Jim

    I have an idea and that idea is to bring this man center stage in all of America. I want this man to speak for me and with me on the merits of self nourishing. This man is and may well be the center point of change in our country. The power of your own food, the people you share the time with to plant and tend, harvest, and celebrate the taste and communion of your liberated success. We have buried our souls in the rubble of modern America and as well the children to come. If it grows in your yard touch it. These plants are saying I'm here to help you. Thank you Mr. Ron. 64 years and still loving my mother, EARTH!

  • Mary Jo

    Passion! Persistence. Caring. Making a difference that involves others and can ripple out endlessly.

  • Monica

    WOW! That's wonderful. Congratulations on such an awesome initiative. Best of luck to you and everybody joining you on this!

  • RH

    Ron, you are a modern day hero! Your spirit, compassion, vision and passion are touching and call me to do more. My promise - next time I'm in the CA area, I'll see you, shovel in hand.

  • Linda

    Ron is a beautiful example of seeing the solution in the problem. Thank you Ron for caring, sharing and supporting your community!!

  • Rodger Sorrow

    I enjoy the clarity that Ron has about what is happening in the world that he is offered. He is able to see outside that box and enroll others in co-creating the world he wants of sustainable gardens producing healthy foods. Hallelujah!

  • Raquel

    We too grow food in our garden and fresh herbs makes everything taste better. He walks the talk and inspires people in his neighborhood to learn how to/or remember how good it feels to plant things that you can eat. Taking his lesson in saying 'you are the soil' to nourish yourself, with good fertilizer of the mind, body and spirit you can do fabulous things with your life. Go Ron Finley!

  • Deanna

    We need to push change at the local government level. In my area in Texas (suburb), HOAs and code enforcement will ticket you if you are growing food in your yard and they can see it. How ridiculous is this? What gives them the right to say what we grow in the yard if it is neat and orderly? It is so ignorant that I can't even comprehend who came up with the rule. I know this is true in cities all across America. I love this video, he is being th change!!

  • Kristina

    What a genuine role model and truly loving man.

  • Miz Annie

    I have seen this before, and I love it. I work with the homeless, and I am always trying to inspire people to grow their own food. I always plant extra in my gardens to give away, and I try to get my neighbors to plant their lawns...we don't need grass...we need healthy food!

  • Suzanne

    I'm a landscaping, tree hugging, earth loving, horticulturalist and just had to say thanks for moving me, and giving me tears of joy. What a wonderful movement! So elegant, simple and real! Great blessings to you and yours.

  • shelley

    i live in durban south africa and my husband started a veg garden and was feeding the one unemployed lady from two houses down and she was really hungry and survived on the veges from his garden and was so appreciative. often people will not tell their neighbours if they are hungry so this is a wonderful thing, not only for health but in south africa to eradicate poverty

  • lisa

    This is so you.

  • Shirley Marsh

    Brilliant! Given me some ideas. You are awesome Ron Finley!

  • Theresa

    This is absolutely awesome! Thank you for your work for the earth, for the people and for America! This is so inspiring. Spread the word--get the message out. We can do this in every community!

  • Bonita

    We are doing this in Jackson County Oregon. Community Gardens are growing like "weeds";0) We've even started our own organization, Community Gardening Network of Jackson County! I love to see what a group of people can do when they get focused on a worthwhile project. Be the Change You Want To See!

  • Bonnie

    I love the shovel being the weapon of choice!!! It's inspiring that he goes out to spread the message by using his shovel and seeds...and that he's showing kids how to become grounded in something meaningful, healthy (for mind, body, and soul)and of lifelong value. Give a person a fish, they eat for a day...teach a person to fish, they can eat for life. If you are going to water it, you might as well be able to eat it!

  • Tiago

    It began in a Garden (Eden) ... and it will end in a Garden (the New Earth) ... Let´s get our back into the shovel!

  • Carol

    Everything inspired me. I have 11 baring fruit trees on my hillside. Now he needs to include composting so that there is "shit" to put on the gardens, better soil for those seeds he is planting and less waste in the land fills,

  • Steve

    I just picked some fresh peas from my organic garden. I was munching a few raw when I checked my email and followed the link to this video. It is like a dream to see that other people are on the the same things I want to do. I have three sunflower seedlings (over 12 inches tall) that are slated to go into the ground to beautify a part of my neighborhood that I think needs color. I have staked out other places that I feel can grow food. Now I have been inspired to act vs plan. Thank You!

  • Jillian

    He speaks from the heart. He's real and true. He's making a difference and creating a dialogue and is the change for better.

  • Sylvia Polakov

    Wonderful idea but I think he doesn´t know about the problems of being a farmer. But good luck to him! I think that Americans have the worst eating habits in the world and have created a very powerful industry which they are exporting to the rest of the world.

  • Deidre

    Do work Ron Finley! A regional planner from Los Angeles county shared that legistation had recently passed called HDO, Health Design Options. Individuals can plant community gardens in vacant lots. I really hope this legislation helps Ron expand his vision. I plan to start my community garden!

  • nancy

    his humility and total commitment

  • Kate

    If you want to meet with me, come to the garden with a shovel...

  • Tanna

    Go Ron Finley!!! I live about five miles from South Central, and I'm going to go out looking for these gardens! I think every child can get a glimpse of what they are capable of once they plant a seed and see how, with a small amount of attention, diligence and nurturing, they can create something that they can identify as an end result -- and a success.

  • sarah

    Love what he is doing!

  • Aj

    One of the most inspiring and fabulous stories. Lets ALL pay it forward! Thank you so much.

  • Editha Parra

    Gardening is my passion and I truly admired his style of gardening and making it into reality.

  • Deb Habib

    Right on, Grow on, Food for the People. We are in solidarity with you. Check out our Grow Food Everywhere video posted on Karmatube: http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=3740 We will be showing the words of Ron Finley and power of LA Green Grounds to our youth program, SOL Garden to keep the inspiration and faith flowing.

  • Brian

    Amen! Peace...

  • Geoff Langston

    A great approach to getting things done - "if you want to meet me, come down to the garden with your shovel - and dig". The difference between PMA (positive mental attitude) and PMA positive mental ACTION! An excellent talk, thank you

  • Page 1

  • Learn more about LA Green Grounds, the all-volunteer group turning turf into edible gardens in South Los Angeles.
  • Listen to Robyn O'Brien's riveting talk on her unlikely crusade for food safety. Dubbed "food's Erin Brockovitch," O'Brien seeks to protect American families from the additives found in our food supply.
  • Get gangsta' with your shovel - plant something edible this Spring.

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