A master gardener transforms a South L.A. food desert into an edible oasis
December 10, 2020
OCTOBER 2011 - HUFFINGTON POST
Andrew Gunther sums up recent activity surrounding the parkway garden and activism of LA Green Grounds co-founder Ron Finley:
I bumped into Finley at the recent Good Food Festival in Santa Monica, CA. We got talking and he told me about his recent successful fight with city bureaucrats over his community garden and the grassroots initiative he’s set up to help urban communities to grow healthy, organic food for themselves. From the outset I liked the man, and we were clearly fighting the same fight, just on very different fronts. His story was as inspirational as anything I had seen or heard before.
An edible garden set up early in LA Green Grounds‘ history inhabits a curbside parkway, and what was once turf is now a gathering space in the neighborhood. As written by the LA Times’ Steve Lopez:
Finley, who studied gardening in a UC Cooperative Extension class taught by Florence Nishida, later hooked up with Nishida and a couple of other folks to address what they call the food desert in South Los Angeles, where healthful options are in short supply. The group is called L.A. Green Grounds.
“We try to locate people who want to grow vegetables but don’t know how,” said Nishida. “We go out and visit the property and make sure it’ll work. Does it have enough sunlight? And we want to assess the person to make sure it’s sustainable, because a garden is a lot of work.”
The City of Los Angeles cited the garden for violation of curbside regulations. However, the City worked with LA Green Grounds and homeowner Ron Finley for a successful resolution:
UPDATE: Parkway garden no longer on trial!
Great news from South Los Angeles: due to a large swell of collaboration between Ron Finley, LA Green Grounds, and the city, the hearing on Ron’s parkway garden (mentioned in a previous post) has been postponed indefinitely, an indication from the city that the garden has been accepted into the community. Change.org picked up this beat this morning.
UPDATE 8/22/11: Change.org just got word that the hearing about Ron Finley’s garden has been postponed until further notice. This is a great sign of progress, and we will update you with more information as it becomes available.
This is a wonderful encouragement of urban farming. If you, or those around you, are interested in beginning your own edible garden, let Green Grounds know by contacting us at [email protected]. The next Dig-In could be at your place!