Food Politics + Justice Guerrilla Gardening LA

Published on March 6th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe

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Guerrilla Gardening in South Central L.A.

Guerrilla Gardening LA

Guerrilla Gardener Ron Finley is transforming blighted areas in South Central LA, planting food in vacant lots to help combat this area’s food desert problem.

Finley says that in South Central, “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys,” and he’s aiming to change that. In an inspiring, and very funny TED Talk, he discusses what a food desert means and how he’s doing his part to improve his neighborhood by planting food and his struggle with the city to keep his project going:

What’s a food desert?

Food deserts are areas without access to healthy food, usually in poor, urban areas. Instead of grocery stores where you can pick up healthy fruits and veggies, the food options are fast food chain after fast food chain, maybe with some convenience stores thrown in.

Community gardens and guerrilla food gardens have the power to transform these food deserts by providing access to healthy food in areas where the closest you could find to a vegetable before was a french fry.

Finley says in his talk that “grow your own food” is his gospel, and he’s spreading the word across South Central LA to fight hunger, improve health, and educate the community. Like he says in his talk, “If kids grow kale, they eat kale!”

What began as a few small gardens has grown into L.A. Green Grounds, a volunteer-run group that’s changing the landscape in South Central Los Angeles.

Image Credit: Photo via L.A. Green Grounds





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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://ecolocalizer.com/author/rhondawinter/ rhonda winter

    “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”

    This is so brilliant.
    Finley is a true prophet.
    Growing food and health.

    • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

      Isn’t he awesome? I found his talk so empowering!

  • Pingback: TED Talk -A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | John-King.me()

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