Watch Ron Finley's TED Talk, South Central's Guerrilla Gardener

One of the gardens Ron Finley has planted in South Central
One of the gardens Ron Finley has planted in South Central
Screenshot from Ron Finley's TED talk

Ron Finley is a gardener, but not in the puttering-in-the-backyard kind of way. Rather, the artist and designer refers to himself as a "guerrilla gardener," using the growing of food as a way to try to change the dynamics of his neighborhood: South Central L.A.

In a TED talk, given in Long Beach in February and just recently posted online, Finley talks about his neighborhood as a food desert and community devastated by food-related illnesses. "South Central: The home of the drive-by and the drive-thru," he says. "The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

He talks about dialysis centers popping up "like Starbucks," and then goes on to detail the ways he's been using gardening -- in abandoned lots, along medians, anywhere he can find space -- to try to nourish his community. ""Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city," Finley says. "Plus, you get strawberries."

Watch the entire talk below.


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