Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.

Why you should listen

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.

What others say

“An inspiration to all, Ron Finley is a true urban farming hero.” — Andrew Gunther, Huffington Post, 10.3.11

Ron Finley’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Ron Finley


No more citations for curbside veggies in Los Angeles

August 16, 2013

Planting a vegetable garden beside a road is no longer a fineable action in Los Angeles. In a major victory for TED speaker Ron Finley, otherwise known as the renegade gardener of South Central, the Los Angeles City Council voted 15-0 on Tuesday to allow the planting of vegetable gardens in unused strips of city […]

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Gardening tips from TED-Ed and some green-thumbed TED speakers

July 22, 2013

For many, the summer means a different kind of work — gardening. Whether you have twenty acres of lush meadow, a rooftop oasis in the city or a few potted plants on a balcony, when it gets hot outside it’s time to get planting. In the TED-Ed lesson above, Mary Koga explains the science behind […]

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