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Gangsta Gardener: Urban Farming in LA
Ron Finley first stepped into the spotlight with his 2013 TED Talk on “gangsta gardening” in South Central Los Angeles. He planted vegetable gardens along curbs and abandoned lots, undertaking his mission for fun, for beauty, and for environmental and food justice in an area where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
Now, his one-man mission has grown into the Ron Finley Project, which aims to transform food deserts into urban gardening centers and creative business models. In collaboration with executive producer John Legend, Finley recently put together a documentary to spread the word of gangsta gardening. Can You Dig This follows four gardeners in South LA determined to change their communities. By exploring the urban gardening movement in an unlikely city, the film aims not only to expand the scope of the Ron Finley Project, but also to instruct and inspire similar movements.
Can You Dig This has moved from the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival to the national stage, with screenings from Atlanta to New York. Some schools, such as Loyola University in New Orleans, are even weaving it into their curriculum. In presenting the inspirational as achievable, as well as focusing on marginalized communities, Finley is striking a chord.
The documentary trailer is available here.