Just in case you thought you had a little street cred, Los Angeles native Ron Finley is here to set the record straight. "You ain't gangsta unless you have a garden," Finley said in a straight-shooting (no pun intended) interview with CNN last week, explaining why he's starting an urban garden revolution in his neighborhood of South Central, LA.
"Gardening is gangsta because you're empowering yourself. The weapon I choose is not a gun, it's a shovel. Any plot of dirt... just plant some shit in it," Finley said, reiterating the message he delivered during a TED talk on neighborhood gardens and health last month.
Though he's made a successful living as a clothing designer and artist, Finley explained that a course on gardening at the Natural History Museum coupled with a growing concern about the disproportionate number of liquor stores to fresh food vendors in his neighborhood is what inspired his growing movement -- to take areas like his from a food dessert to a food forest.
"Children learn what they live. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If they live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If they live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If they live around alcohol, drugs, unhealthy food and violence, this is what they will reproduce in their lives and in society in general. This is a vicious circle that needs to end," Finley wrote in a CNN op-ed Tuesday. "You look at the statistics and you see that drive-throughs literally are killing more people than the drive-bys," he added.
Check out more of Finley's thoughts in the video above and tell us what you plan on planting this spring.