Save Ron Finley's Gangsta Garden
Ron Finley has many titles: Fashion Designer, The Renegade Gardener, Guerilla Gardener, Gangsta Gardener, Head Trouble Maker but most importantly Revolutionary. In 2010, he decided to take his health and the health of his community into his own hands and “Plant Some Shit”, turning a strip of city-owned land into a food oasis. After a citation, fine and eventual warrant for Finley’s arrest over the grass that he transformed into a food forest for his community, word spread quickly about the “Gangsta Gardener”.
With the help of his powerful 2013 Ted Talk and 2015 film "Can You Dig This", his message that gardens are solutions to inner city health problems, gang violence and poverty has echoed around the world. The ringing of his words has given birth to urban communities across the globe coming together to grow their own food in areas that have none.
People from all walks of life have shown their support for Finley's efforts. Luminaries such as René Redzepi, Russell Brand, Alice Waters, Rainn Wilson, Penny Marshall, Aloe Blacc, Carson Daley, Rachel Hunter and Robert Horry have reached out in solidarity, as well as statewide dignitaries including Mayors Aja Brown, Kevin Johnson and Councilman Herb Wesson.
Over the years, the Gangsta Garden has evolved into more than a symbol of healthy change for urban communities including an educational site, a propagation station for more edible landscapes and the formal headquarters for The Ron Finley Project (RFP). Furthermore, it has become the focus of study for local K-12 classrooms and universities worldwide including the renown institutions of MIT, Harvard and University of Southern California.
Currently, RFP is fighting for their headquarters; the very same location that ignited a good food revolution when Finley took back city land and planted the seeds to cultivate happy and healthy communities. After numerous attempts by the property owner for a loan modification with no avail, the land was sold to Strategic Acquisitions Inc in a foreclosure.
RFP has requested that Strategic Acquisitions allow them to continue operating from the location as to sustain the important work they are doing in the community. The only solution they have been offered is to purchase the property for $500,000, otherwise... they face eviction.
Finley took on city lawmakers in 2010 sparking a worldwide food justice revolution. Now the world needs to rally behind him!
RFP needs to raise $500,000 to #savethegangstagarden. If you have been touched by RFP or support access to healthy food for ALL communities please donate what you can and share widely.
Our next steps are to secure the property. Ron’s lawyers are currently in negotiations with Strategic Acquisitions and we hope they will stay true to their word. We will keep you updated on this process and will share the good news the moment The Ron Finley Project is legally the rightful owner of their headquarters and the gangsta garden.
We couldn’t have done this without all of you. Our worldwide community is truly remarkable and has shown the true power of the collective. In the words of Ron Finley “We have the capacity to design the lives that we want to live, and not the ones that were designed for us. We all can do our part to heal our mother.”
Stay tuned to the updates and GoFundMe site for our official victory. Plus, check out CBS Evening News - Weekend Edition on Sunday 5:30pm PST to see national coverage by reporter Mireya Villarreal of our fight to #SaveTheGangstaGarden. Peace and love to you all!
We can see the finish line and are in the final push! One of our rockstar supporters, Mary Wall, has proposed a challenge: she will match every dollar raised up to $3,000 starting on Thursday 4/6/17 at 7:30am through 6:59am Wednesday 4/12/17. Help us meet this challenge by sharing our campaign. Thank you Mary for the opportunity!
Much love and gratitude to you ALL for the unbelievable support. We cannot express enough what you mean to us.
Tune in today to the Ron Finley Project FB Page ( www.facebook.com/TheRonFinleyProject) at 12:30 PST for a live stream with Ron giving a tour of the garden and answering any questions you may have. Plus check out the latest coverage to #SaveTheGangstaGarden by CBS Los Angeles:
John Foraker, CEO of Annie’s Homegrown has joined Team #SaveTheGangstaGarden and is blowing up social media with our campaign. Between everyone’s combined shares and donations we have raised over 374K. That’s no small potatoes! Please continue to share the GoFundMe to all your social networks. As mentioned in our last update, each share can potentially raise $35. Repeated shares have shown to bring in even more!
The Ron Finley Project has not been evicted from their headquarters just yet. There is still time to #SaveTheGangstaGarden! Keep sharing our story and sending love our way. We’re so close to winning this and can’t do it without you. Much love for your continued efforts as we rise to victory.
Strategic Acquisitions still plans to evict The Ron Finley Project from their headquarters IN LESS THAN A WEEK. Please, keep sharing the #SaveTheGangstaGarden GoFundMe campaign. Each share has the potential to raise $35 or more! Every drop in the bucket counts.
The love that Ron Finley has planted in the Gangsta Garden has changed the lives of individuals and communities around the world and continues to do so with each new seed planted. We cannot let this global symbol of health and equity be destroyed.
Please take a moment to read excerpts of letters from a few worldwide supporters of The Ron Finley Project and continue to share our GoFundMe campaign through this final push towards victory. We still can and WILL #SaveTheGangstaGarden!
From Nairobi, Kenya:
“Hey Ron, I live in Nairobi Kenya and I just want to thank you for all the inspiration!!! I recently started an organisation called Porini (forest in Kiswahili) Permaculture where we are going to have a learning center and a community center Thank you Ron.”
From Audrey in Paris, France:
“I've discovered your amazing work and commitment through your Ted talk. Each year, my school selects a project and funds 1/3 of it. My plan is to do exactly what's happened in South Central and apply it to some suburbs of Paris which would benefit so much from it.”
From Alesia in Atlanta, GA:
“Brother, No house plant was safe from my death curse. Now you got a sistah out here in one of the worst communities in Atlanta with a nine bed community garden growing some shit! I just want to thank you for the vision and for allowing me to dream a different dream. Just. Thank you…”
From Calgary, Alberta:
“I don't think you can possibly have any idea how wide-reaching and impactful you have been. Thanks to you, I'm sure that dozens of new gardens have been started here in Calgary alone-- probably thousands across North America. There are a lot of problems in the world, but we can face them if we let the shovel be our weapon of choice.”
From M. Motsei in South Africa:
“You are a manifestation of my dreams for my people and my country. I am writing to ask if we can use the term Gangsta Gardening in my work with ex offenders in South Africa. I do not have to tell you, coming from South LA, how incarceration continues to break black families and communities.”
From Karen in Japan:
“I just wanted to send you a brief note to say thank you for the incredible, life-changing work that you do! A couple of years ago, I saw your gangster gardener ted talk and my son and I were out planting herbs and carrots in our garden less than 24 hours later. Our lives haven't been the same since.
Now, our family is preparing to embark on a new journey, where we will head to Italy to study sustainable farming and food history/culture/preparation. Thank you so much!”
From Laura in Goshen, IN:
“I offer special thanks to Ron Finley, as his videos directly inspired me to turn our run down, weedy rental lot into a thriving eco-haven that feeds us, offers lots of produce to share with our community, and has provided gardening instruction to many students, as well as beauty to local residents. Our yard is now a certified Monarch Way Station, and it gives safe foraging to the declining honeybees, as well as hundreds of other animal species. It has brought life to a once forgotten and depressed area.
We need more Gangsta Gardens and yards turned farms.”
Hi Ron I'm so sorry to hear of your predicament. So much time, love and energy has been poured into the earth you're tending I understand not wanting to move. That and it takes months to cultivate and wait for produce to produce. I don't think people know how long it takes to grow food! And that changing locations may take you too far from current families relying on you. Have you considered applying for a grant from various foundations? Gates, Clinton etc? https://www.clintonfoundation.org/our-work They could drop $500k without blinking given the proven community benefits and outcomes already displayed and underway. Wishing you health and happiness and a generous benefactor to fall from the heavens to a truly deserving people. Change The World.
Thank you all for the support and inquires. We've had a number of questions regarding where the money is going to. As RFP team member Ashleigh Carter pointed out below, ALL the money is going towards purchasing the property. RFP has a budget that supports their operations. Strategic Acquisitions has asked for $500,000 for the property or RFP will be evicted. I have updated the campaign to make sure this is clear. Linda Mueller - Thanks for the wonderful idea! We have a petition circulating. You can sign and share it with Michelle Obama ;) here: http://bit.ly/2j3c70o Al J Kennedy - We hope it does not come down to finding another location. This property means too much to the community and world at large for us to give up on it. Furthermore, we feel it is important to call out and fight this injustice as it mirrors the struggles of other urban communities.
I shared it already and added a nice long positive narrative with my share.. I wish I had a lot more money,,this is such a great cause and a learning education. Can someone compose a much needed letter and then it out to social media and we can all add our names? Think that would help? I would also CC a copy to Michele Obama,, she grew fresh veggies on The White House property. Heck I will try to copy this and send it to her via something!!
Addressing all newly added questions: Hi Alexis Camille Stewart! Thanks for the RFP love. Ron would have to speak directly on the pros and cons. Some of my thoughts for maintaining the property are... (1) this is an injustice that is happening in all of our urban communities; we can't be bystanders to injustice. Also, this property isn't just important to RFP (2) it's a staple for South Los Angeles and a symbol of change for communities around the world that are bringing access to fresh, healthy food in food deserts. As far as I'm concerned, this should be a protected historical site. I hope this provides you some insight in the need for RFP to remain in their HQ. Hey Al J Kennedy! Thanks for the question. I hope the above answer to Alexis' question will be a sufficient answer. Hello Janet Kay - Thank you for the support and understanding. We've reached out to several foundations, including the two you mentioned. Feel free to reach out to them again on our behalf. Greetings Robin Mayasandra - Thank you for the offer to help. Unfortunately RFP could go at any time. Feel free research corporate grants and inbox me with any suggestions. Every hand helps!
I love the monetary support and generosity of all of you although I would prefer to punish the greedy socially irresponsible corporations! They should donate the property and put a nice sign in the space teaching other developers all about kind consideration. Naive yes.