Ron Finley is a rebel with a green thumb. In 2010 Ron set out to fix a problem in his South Central neighborhood parkways; those often neglected dirt patches next to our streets. He planted some vegetables there. Soon after he was cited for gardening without a permit by the apparent owners of those dirt patches: the City of Los Angeles. Queue the beginning of a horticulture revolution.
Ron fought back, and won. He started a petition with fellow green activists, and demanded the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood. Having grown up in the South Central Los Angeles food prison, Ron is familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce. He knew what it was like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. Boldly and tenderly, Ron’s vision to rejuvenate communities around the world through gardening, knowledge, and togetherness has taken root.
Inner city food prisons
South-Central Los Angeles is a food desert: a geographic location where access to healthy food options are extremely limited or nonexistent. There are currently 23.5 million people living in food deserts in the US. And cities with high African American and Latin American populations, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City, regularly top the list of those hit hardest by food scarcity.
South-Central L.A. has higher obesity rates than more affluent neighboring communities like Beverly Hills, Glendale, and Pasadena, which are only a few miles to its north, according to a 2011 study conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.