Sustainability: Gardening for a Better World
For Ron Finley – the Gangster Gardener – the art of gardening is a path toward truly living freely and sustainably. From his early work transforming the abandoned space in his South Central LA neighborhood into a food sanctuary, Finley has shared his empowering message worldwide, inspiring audiences of all kinds to explore the therapeutic and defiant art of gardening, and grow a more equitable world through sustainable practices.
Urban Renewal: From Food Prisons to Food Forests
Gangster Gardener and food equity activist Ron Finley is the founder of the Ron Finley Project – an organization that turns food prisons, a geographic location where access to healthy food options is extremely limited or nonexistent – into food forests. His mission is to change the composition of the soil in communities around the world, empowering them to cultivate knowledge, nutrition, and togetherness. In this energizing talk, Finley shares his profound message and mission to revolutionize culture and communities around the globe one garden at a time.
Message of Empowerment for Young Audiences & Parents
Gardening and food equity activist Ron Finley – known widely as the Gangster Gardener – has made a global impact with his message of transformation through gardening, knowledge, and togetherness. When raising his sons in South Los Angeles, the biggest lesson he instilled in them was to be operationally happy. In this empowering talk, Finley encourages young people: “design the life you want to live, not the one that’s been designed for you.”
Ron Finley is a rebel with a green thumb widely known as the Gangster Gardener.
Having grown up in the South Central Los Angeles food prison, a geographic location where access to healthy food options are extremely limited or nonexistent, Ron is familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce.
In 2010 Ron set out to fix the problem by planting vegetables in those often neglected dirt patches next to our streets. After being cited by the city of Los Angeles for gardening without a permit, he fought back, won and started a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood. As a result of Ron's advocacy, a key statue of land rights legislation changed - Ordinance No. 183474. New Residential Parkway Landscaping Guidelines were adopted as policy by the Board of Public Works on June 22, 2015 and the LAMC amended effective April 19, 2015. The new guidelines changed the permit process for landscaping, including edible plant materials, in “parkways” - the area of the street between the back of curb and the sidewalk.
Within 2021 and 2022 alone, Ron has had over 30+ speaking engagements with institutes like USC, UCLA, Cornell University, Hammer Museum, Perkins + Will and Amazon. Ron has also previously spoken at Ted Talk, interviewed with The Ellen Show, and has one of the most popular courses on the Masterclass platform with over 9 million views, making his course the most watched of 2020.
Boldly and tenderly, Ron’s vision to rejuvenate communities around the world through gardening, knowledge, and togetherness has taken root, inspiring millions with his passion for agriculture and food equity.