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South Central Los Angeles community garden pioneer Ron Finley speaks at TedX Vancouver today


Video from TEDTalentSearch. June 2012.

Fashion Innovator. Manic Collector. Renegade Gardener. Visionary. Community Activist.

Excerpt from Day 3 at TED-Vancouver
Vancouver Sun Feb 28, 2013

South Central Los Angeles community garden pioneer Ron Finley is talking about guerilla gardening in a neighbourhood, a “food desert” where “drive-ins are killing more people than drive-bys.” In salty, provocative language he points out LA has 26 square miles of vacant land.

His LA Green Grounds has made a profound difference. “Raising food is a license to print money.”

Finley’s group now has 20 different gardens. “If kids grow kale, they eat kale. If they raise tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.” Vancouver’s farmers’ markets and DTES community gardens advocates should talk to this guy. “If you want to meet with me, come to the garden witha shovel where we can plant some shit.” He describes his group as “a rag-tag bunch of renegades” who want to raise food for their community.

Excerpt from Ron’s website:

Fashion Innovator. Manic Collector. Renegade Gardener. Visionary. Community Activist.

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Ron showed an early passion and talent for fashion, and started his innovative clothing company, The DROPDEAD Collexion, in his family garage. The DROPDEAD Collexion featured Ron’s unique design vision expressed through top quality workmanship and materials. The line was a top seller with high-end retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Ron Finley’s design ingenuity attracted the attention of many celebrities, and he was the go-to designer for several NBA and Hollywood stars, including basketball All-Star Robert Horry. The DROPDEAD Collexion set the standard for the fashion forward.

Ron Finley started collecting Black entertainment memorabilia, both for its preservation and also for a connection to his own history, and now owns one of the premiere collections of this genre. The current exhibition of posters from Ron’s collection, Ron Finley’s Travels Through Blackness: International Movie Poster Design 1920’s to 1970’s, depicts the progression of Black experience in the movie industry. It is an exciting show and generating much interest in the work!

When Ron found that it was impossible to buy healthy produce in his neighborhood he started growing his own! This turned into a passion for the art of gardening and the study of permaculture. As one of the founders of LAGREENGROUNDS.ORG, Ron Finley leads the fight to transform neighborhoods currently identified as “Food Deserts” into “Food Forests.” LAGREENGROUNDS installs gardens in homes throughout South Central Los Angeles free of charge, bringing healthy fruits and vegetables to families in need.

See his website here.