Ron Finley

About Ron Finley

An urban gardener, nonprofit creator and fashion designer using regenerative agriculture to increase access to healthy food and bring neighbors together in his South-Central Los Angeles community.

Ron Finley is known by many members in his South-Central community as the Gangster Gardener. In 2010 Ron set out to fix a problem in his South-Central neighborhood parkways; those often-neglected dirt patches next to the streets. He planted some vegetables there. Soon after he was cited for gardening without a permit by the apparent owners of those dirt patches: the City of Los Angeles. Queue the beginning of a horticulture revolution.

Ron fought back and won. He started a petition with fellow green activists and demanded the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood. Having grown up in the South-Central Los Angeles food prison, Ron is familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce. He knew what it was like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. Boldly and tenderly, Ron’s vision to rejuvenate communities around the world through gardening, knowledge, and togetherness has taken root.

Ron’s South-Central community is known as a food desert. A location without access consistent to fresh and healthy food. In the US alone about 23.5 million people live in food deserts. A disproportionally high percentage of that 23.5 million are black and brown populations. Studies have also shown that food deserts often have higher obesity rates than non-food deserts. Because of these circumstances, Ron created the Ron Finley Projects a nonprofit devoted to ending food deserts all across the country.


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