Today is significant for the family and fans of Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, or Biggie Smalls. He was an American rapper, consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time. March 9, 2017 marks the 20 year anniversary of his death- killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His stage names reflected his large size, however, they also could reflect the overwhelming social concerns he was born into, lived with and died from. Below is hope for a new approach to both inner city and rural food disparities and how you can emulate this in your own community.
Meet Ron Finley, a current day resident of LA who is also touched by gang violence in his neighborhood, wanting making a lasting positive impact on his community by being a “Gangsta Gardener”.
“I live in South Central- liquor stores, fast-food, vacant lots. I live in a food desert. south Central Los Angeles. Home of the the drive-through and the drive by. Funny thing is the drive-throughs are killing more people than the drive-by. I see wheelchairs being bought and sold like used cars. I see dialysis centers popping up like Starbucks. So I figured that the problem is the solution. Food is the problem and food is the solution”.
Ron Finley, Ted Radio Hour from NPR
As a response to this desire to change the culture, he planted a food forest in front of his home. Since that time, he has planted gardens at low-income homes in the LA area as part of a recovery system to transform neighborhoods. He is also the co-founder of The Ron Finley Project well worth checking out.
In early 2013, he gave a TED talk on his progress as a “renegade gardener,” the dangers of food deserts, and the potential for his program to improve quality of life. Armed with a “pitch fork and a hoe” he transformed a barren yard into a lush public space to glean.
Just imagine if we had one whole block, a cooperative, that they grow food and you know what your neighbors are growing so you don’t have to grow it. Because you know Mable is doing the carrots and you know Tex is doing the onions and you have the cabbage and fruit trees. That would be my perfect world.
Let’s help Finley see that perfect world be a reality. Host a viewing of Finley’s film Can You Dig This and allow this enthusiasm to catch fire in your neighborhood. Add yourself to our e-mail list. Join Project Food Forest‘s Pledge to Plant campaign. And when your plants start producing, consider allowing neighbors and friends to glean from your garden as Ron Finley has. And as always, please comment, like and share our stories from gleanforgood.net!