Monday, March 31, 2014

Ron Finley - Extraordinary People Changing the Game

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Why Ron Finley is Extraordinary

“People need to realize how powerful the transformation of soil can be. We’ve gotten so far away from our food source. It’s been hijacked from us. But if you get soil, plant something in it and water it, you can feed yourself. It’s that simple.” (SOURCE: The New York Times)
Without the trappings of fame, Ron Finley is just a father who cares about his sons’ health. He fashioned a garden out of his front lawn, just as he embellishes bare walls with graffiti. The result is a free source of food and an amalgam of life in the form of plants.

TED Speaker

He was one of the founders of an organization, which was inspired by his “gangster attitude” towards gardening. Before his TED Talk, Ron and his organization had less than 30 volunteers; his TED appearance, however, gave it the media mileage it needed and multiplied its workforce more than ten-fold. According to Ron, we should break away from what food corporations dictate that we eat, as our growing indifference towards growing our own food only makes these capitalists richer.
Dubbed a “food desert,” South Central Los Angeles has one of the highest obesity rates in America. It’s a place where diabetes is also prevalent due to poor eating habits; without fresh fruits and vegetables around, people are left with few choices other than convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.
Ron’s garden inspired his neighbors (and many others after his TED talk) to think about what they eat. But what’s important to him now is that his garden enables him to silently help people who have hardly anything to eat:
"I remember this time, there was this mother and a daughter came, it was, like, 10:30 at night, and they were in my yard, and I came out and they looked so ashamed. So I'm like, man, it made me feel bad that they were there, and I told them, you know, you don't have to do this like this. This is on the street for a reason. It made me feel ashamed to see people that were this close to me that were hungry, and this only reinforced why I do this, and people asked me, "Fin, aren't you afraid people are going to steal your food?" And I'm like, "Hell no, I ain't afraid they're gonna steal it. That's why it's on the street. That's the whole idea. I want them to take it, but at the same time, I want them to take back their health." (SOURCE: TED Talks)
Yes, aside from having a green thumb, this “gangster gardener” also has a big heart.

Top Reasons why Ron Finley is Extraordinary

  1. He planted fruits and vegetables in his front lawn to share with his neighbors.
  2. It inspired the founding of an organization in 2010.
  3. He owns his own clothing business, called “Dropdead Collexion.”
  4. He is currently working on “The Ron Finley Project” to help people get started with growing plants in their yards.
  5. He is a TED Speaker, and his videos have been viewed over one-million times.
  6. He is a graffiti artist.
  7. He owns a collection of “Black Entertainment memorabilia.”
  8. He designs fashion clothes for NBA players, Saks Fifth Avenue and Marcus Neiman, among many others.
  9. He has appeared on TV and been featured by reputable publications.
  10. He received the “Natural American Heroes Award” from Natural News.

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