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August 07, 2017

Ron Finley, a former fashion designer turned green fingered activist is the gangsta gardener.

Since 2010, Finley has been taking neglected pieces of land in South Central Los Angeles and transforming them into thriving, self-sustaining gardens.

Finley’s incredible story has now been documented in a film produced by John Legend that charts his and several other’s journeys gardening in an area more famed for its drive-bys and drive-throughs than its organic produce.  

However, what first got us interested in Ron Finley’s work, was his philosophy. Particularly his thoughts on being a conscious citizen and his efforts to redefine what it is to be masculine.

Now there’s so much we could blog and quote about Finley’s work, but to keep it short we thought we would list some cool quotes that stood out to us from his recent interview with Positive News .

  1. “Gardening is gangsta: Mother Nature is gangsta. Being educated, creative and self-sustaining is gangsta,”
  2. “That whole concept [gardening in his community] was about turning a negative into a positive. If you want to be gangsta about anything, make it about building your community, sharing knowledge.”
  3. “I don’t really separate being a man and being a human being – being a conscious citizen of this planet. We all want healthy food, clean water, and to be loved. I don’t see holding back emotion or affection as being a man. I’ve cried on stage. All that ‘real men don’t cry’ bullshit? Yeah, we do. Real people cry.”
  4. “Men are brought up being told that we’re supposed to be provider and protector. But, as far as I can see, a lot of our communities are basically designed to kill people, because you can’t find healthy or nutritious food in them.”
  5. “Gardening changes people’s lives – it shows the alchemy and the art of Mother Nature. It gives you a reverence and respect for soil, tiny seeds, water. If we want to change this, all over the world, we have to make growing and producing food sexy. It’s where I find my solace, my joy. The soil seduces you. You do the soil’s bidding,” he said.

We love Finley’s revolution and share his values on food, nature and what it is to be truly gangsta in today’s world!

For more insight into Ron Finley's world check out his film , videos and Ted talk .