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.
Time is running out. Strategic Acquisitions plans to evict The Ron Finley Project in the next week. The GOOD news is we are over halfway to our goal and there is still a chance that we can save the gangsta garden with your help.
Please share the GoFundMe with all your networks, donate whatever you can, and help educate others on the importance of this garden that has brought health and love to urban communities in Los Angeles and cities around the world.
With the support and generosity of Bette Midler, Nell Newman and most importantly YOU, we know there is still hope for our beloved garden and The Ron Finley Project. ALL HANDS ON DECK! Let’s #SaveTheGangstaGarden.
Help us to continue to spread their message by sharing Nell’s latest facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=994062827391477&id=199920990139002
As always, we are grateful for ALL the support. As we mentioned in our last update, on top of the GoFundMe donations we are also receiving private donations. The combined effort of these donations and your continued support gives us confidence that we will win this battle to #SaveTheGangstaGarden. Much love to all of our supporters!
In addition, we are also receiving private donations through other sources and are optimistic that we can #SaveTheGangstaGarden. Thank you all for your continued support!
Strategic Acquisitions still is aggressively pursuing the eviction of The Ron Finley Project Headquarters and the only solution they have offered is to purchase the property for $500,000.
As pointed out in our last update, this is not Strategic Acquisitions first rodeo. Founder and President Peter Baer has teamed up with several banks in the past to fraudulently foreclose and wrongfully evict thousands of South Los Angeles community members, pushing urbanites to the brink of homelessness and even suicide. Since 2005, suicides spurred by severe housing stress -evictions and foreclosures- in urban areas have doubled.
Displacement injustice doesn’t just hurt community members, it hurts the whole community and has a devastating effect on our senior population. Here are some ways you can help us win this battle while creating awareness on this communal injustice:
1. Call Strategic Acquisitions at 818-769-7880 and leave a message for Peter Baer. Let Strategic know you stand with The Ron Finley Project. Share your actions on social media.
2. Send Strategic Acquisitions an email describing how the Gangsta Garden has inspired you. Please send it to email@example.com as well as their Chief Operations Officer Tony Hershman’s email firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to CC Mo at email@example.com.
3.Share Ron Finley’s story ( https://www.gofundme.com/savethegangstagarden) on twitter. Please include the following tweet or make up your own: This is bigger than RFP! It personifies the injustice of economic/cultural displacement for communities all over. Please donate and share.
4. Share our GoFundMe link WIDELY: https://www.gofundme.com/savethegangstagarden
The fight to #SaveTheGangstaGarden is larger than the fight for one garden. Although, this battle is far from a blessing, it is an opportunity to shed some light on displacement injustice that is crippling our urban communities.
We appreciate ALL of your continued support. By the power of community WE WILL #SaveTheGangstaGarden!!!
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!!
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.
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!
Theresa: Thank you for the quick response. Please have Ron Finley call Keep Your Home California ASAP --- 888-954-5337. I’ll be honest, once a home is foreclosed on, it’s pretty much over. But, in five years of working with Keep Your Home California, I’ve heard some incredible last-minute saves by the program. Regards, Ron Trujillo Senior Vice President