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New York Times discovers Ron Finley – An Appleseed With Attitude

Ron Finley practices what he preaches at home in Los Angeles. Photo by Emily Berl.

“I want to turn shipping containers into healthy cafes where customers can pick their salad and juice off the trees.”

By David Hochman
New York Times
May 3, 2013


The talk show host Carson Daly, the actress Rashida Jones and the celebrated Danish chef René Redzepi were among hundreds of new admirers issuing shout-outs on Twitter.

Alice Waters stopped by Mr. Finley’s house, Russell Brand put him on his late-night talk show, and corporations like Reebok, Disney, Stihl and Toms Shoes had collaboration ideas. A graduate student asked to write a dissertation about Mr. Finley, who, to his credit, has kept an eyebrow arched over his newfound fame.

“All the attention in the world won’t do my dishes,” he said.

“Ron is compelling, funny and completely authentic in his quest to redefine what’s possible in areas where there’s no nature to be seen,” said Chris Anderson, the TED curator who helped select Mr. Finley as one of 34 speakers discovered during a worldwide talent search that drew thousands of applicants last year. “He takes on the depressing narrative that our inner cities are irretrievably decaying. Watching him fight back rewires your worldview.”

Mr. Finley, who grew up with seven siblings near the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues, where the 1992 Los Angeles riots began, aligns more with graffiti artists like Risk and Retna, both friends of Mr. Finley’s, than with English horticulturalists of yore. Neat rows of zucchini are for grandmas. His gardens have spirals, color, fragrance and curves, and, to him, soil is sensuous. “How much more sexy can it get than you eating food that you grew?” Mr. Finley asked.

Read the complete article here.