Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.
Artist and designer Ron Finley couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard. “South Central Los Angeles,” he quips, “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by.” And it's the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes.
Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside veggie garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education -- and healthy, hopeful futures -- one urban garden at a time.
“South Central Los Angeles [is the] home of the drive-thru and the drive-by. Funny thing is, the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus, you get strawberries.”
“We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is — if you ain't a gardener, you ain't gangsta.”
“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they're not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.”