Culture TEDTalks

A visit to Ron Finley’s LA garden — plus 5 more TED Talks about growing your own food

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In today’s TED Talk, guerilla gardner Ron Finley tells the story of how he was issued a citation, and then a warrant for his arrest Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA , all for planting delicious vegetables in the 150 x 10 foot patch of earth in front of his house in South Central, Los Angeles. It’s a rousing talk — one that will make you want to stand up and cheer … and maybe even plant some kale. As Finley says, “Let’s all become gangsta gardeners. We have to flip the script on what a gangsta is. If you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta. Let that be your weapon of choice!”

Yesterday, the day before Finley’s talk made it to the TED.com homepage, TEDActive’s own Nick Weinberg and Sean Gannet stopped by Finley’s gardens in South Central. Above, a view of the strip of no-man’s-land between the sidewalk and the street that Ron planted with leafy green vegetables and flowers. And below, look for more photos: a garden in a swimming pool and a closeup of Ron’s famous red Swiss chard.

Inspired? Check out these great TED Talks about growing your own food:

Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment
Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.
Stephen Ritz: A teacher growing green in the South Bronx Stephen Ritz: A teacher growing green in the South Bronx Stephen Ritz: A teacher growing green in the South Bronx
A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.
Pam Warhurst: How we can eat our landscapes Pam Warhurst: How we can eat our landscapes Pam Warhurst: How we can eat our landscapes
What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.
Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food
Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, West Virginia, TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on our ignorance of food.

And another great TEDx talk on the subject: Roger Doiron’s My subversive (garden) plot. A vegetable garden can do more than save you money — it can save the world. In this talk, Roger Doiron shows how gardens can re-localize our food and feed our growing population.

Here, more images of Finley’s amazing gardens.

In an abandoned swimming pool behind his house, Ron Finley is growing artichokes, brocolli, kale and more, plus succulents and cacti (check out the mini garden behind the blue tiles). The blue barrels are collecting rainwater, and the black bins are for compost. Photo: Nick Weinberg

In an abandoned swimming pool behind his house, Ron Finley is growing artichokes, brocolli, kale and more, plus succulents and cacti (check out the mini garden behind the blue tiles). The blue barrels are collecting rainwater, and the black bins are for compost. Photo: Nick Weinberg

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A closeup of Ron’s famous Swiss chard. Easy to grow and delicious to eat. Photo: Nick Weinberg