This Man’s Quest for Healthy Food is Changing Los Angeles, One Garden at a Time (Video)
Los Angeles, though often thought of as a land of palm trees and greenery aplenty, is mostly a sprawling, urban expanse which is now dealing with a statewide drought of historic proportions. That isn’t stopping a resident of L.A.’s South Central neighborhood from doing his part to help his beloved city become a leader in the movement to “greenify” our cities. South Central’s long and beautiful history of being a hotbed for celebrated artists and musicians is too often overshadowed by the media’s affinity for reporting on the crime and violence taking place on many of its streets, but Ron Finley is a man on a mission to plant a different kind of legacy, one that is sure to keep future generations healthier.
As seen on egotrip, UPROXX writer Gregg Rosenzweig shared Finley’s story earlier this week, which all started with a tomato. Finley, a longtime resident of South Central, was apparently fed up with having to spend upwards of 45 minutes traveling to a place that sold fresh produce, and so he got down and dirty in an effort to combat things like malnutrition and obesity, two very serious plagues harming Los Angeles’ pockets of poverty. Now often referred to as “food deserts,” neighborhoods without easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables are almost always located within low-income parts of cities across the country, where finding 13 different flavors of potato chips is easy but finding a fresh apple is a rarity. Naturally, that has an immense effect on the health of those communities, where diseases like diabetes are happening at disproportionately higher rates than more affluent areas. As Rosenzweigh writes, “Finley dug in – taking the initiative to plant what he calls a ‘food forest’ on the strip of dirt along the sidewalk outside his home. This so he could eat fresh fruit and veggies when he wanted, and share them with neighbors.” However, his self-described act of “eco-lution” was not met with open arms by the City of Los Angeles, who went as far as to issue a warrant for his arrest.
This story has a happy ending, however. Eventually, Finley took on the city and won, helping to change the ordinances which regulated the use of public property for personal or community gardening. “He started a petition on Change.org, and the media caught wind of his story. Eventually, due to all the new exposure, a city councilman got involved and the city ordinance was changed. Finley had fought the law and won. In the City of Los Angeles, you can now plant food in the parkway in front of your house,” the article explains. In the video below, Finley is the person featured in UPROXX’s “Game Changers” series, and viewers can see and hear the direct effects Finley’s movement has had on his community. Check it out.
Bonus Beat: Watch Ron Finley’s TED Talk