LA Green Grounds & Ron Finley



Last year when LA Green Grounds sent out a call for volunteer gardeners 5 people responded.


LA green grounds Then in early March 2013 a founding member of LAGG, Ron Finley, gave what is arguably one of the best inspirational speeches ever delivered on the famed TED Long Beach stage.


He spoke about planting gardens in South Central LA – making gardens, local food, and growing your own sexy and gangsta.  Ron’s TEDTalk went viral.



In early April LA Green Grounds sent out a notice for volunteers – in less than 4 hours they had 300 responses. And inconceivably enough, for any group of do-gooders, had to turn people away.


Sensing this would be the case after I watched the speech 20 times I:


a) Contacted Ron Finley directly.


b) Set the LA Green Ground email as a special alarm on my phone so I could jump as soon as I got the volunteer request. I did jump – unfortunately while I was baking rosemary crackers, which burned. Oh well.  I responded within 5 minutes and got in to the April 21st Earth Day “Dig In.”

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It’s a great world we live in when planting a garden in South LA is a harder ticket to obtain than a red carpet event.


For our April 21st Dig In we renovated a yard and 3 sections of parkway – turning them into an edible garden.


I dragged my friend Sara along – reminding her we had committed to 7/8 hours ofwork.  And work we did – we shoveled, and pick axed (in truth I’m not great with a pick ax), moved brinks, shoveled some more, picked out weeds, put in baby plants, and shoveled some more. We had a fantastic time, though both of us had trouble lifting out arms that night.


Not to disappoint Ron Finley showed up and so did cameras. Lots of cameras.  A virtual paparazzi followed his every move whether demonstrating the proper use of said pick ax or pulling baby beet plants apart.

LA green grounds

While catching his breath near the mulch pile he told me the biggest difference in the last two months is that he slept before the TEDTalk.


The cameras, all the attention is a bit odd to him. They are a bit odd to the entire tight knit group of LA Green Grounds founding members.  They were a renegade grassroots group of garden graffiti artists, and friends, that challenged the LA City Council. Now they’re rock stars. Almost overnight.


They’re learning. They’re growing. They all get they’re hands dirty. They’re trying to not let it get to their heads.  They’re still going to need you guys so don’t stop requesting to volunteer, find a renegade garden group in your town, or better yet – start your own.


To contact LA Green Grounds go to their website, be patient, and set an alert on your email. It’s worth it!


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  • Posted on April 29, 2013. Listed in:

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