Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA Creates A Buzz That Helps to Eliminate Food Deserts

January 13, 2014

You may be wondering what is “food desert,” how does it affect people in the United States and who is Ron Finley?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that, food deserts are defined  as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas and is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.


A “food desert” is also known as the lack of any healthy food option such as fresh fruits and vegetables.  The term “food desert” also describes the geographic area where residents’ live because they are not able to access the healthy options due to the lack of grocery stores in a convenient traveling distance.  According to a report prepared for Congress by the Economic Research Service of the USDA, “about 2.3 million people (or 2.2 percent of all US households) live more than one mile away from a supermarket and do not own a car.”


Ron Finley decided it was time for a change – time for people in their own communities to make a positive impact for themselves and their community – time to eliminate food deserts.  Finley has done so in his community through using his own ground and unused strips of land throughout the city as a canvas – a canvas where he put seeds so that fruits and vegetables could grow.   Finley began the group L.A. Green Ground – a group of gardeners from the L.A. area.  This group joined Finley on his mission and came together to plant fruits and vegetables throughout unused land in the L.A. area. Originally, this group created a problem with the city because of the fact that they were plating on city land, but in the end they made an impact and were allowed to utilize the unused land to plant fruits and vegetables for their community members.  These gardeners are making a difference for the members in their community by gardening the “healthy” foods that they would otherwise not be able to access and by providing children with the opportunity to help so that they can learn how to sustain life.  Green Grounds is working to create a trend that will hopefully spread across the United Sates – their goal is to create sustainability through producing healthy nourishment and also teaching children and others to sustain what is being created. Let’s make a difference and continue this trend.  Everyone should be entitled to being able to receive the proper nutrition and Finely believes that using the ground as your canvas is just the beginning.  Click on the link below to learn more on Finley, food deserts and what he is doing to eliminate this problem. It is estimated that 26.5 Million people are directly by a food desert.


Recent studies have shown that wealthy districts have three times as many supermarkets as poor ones do and that all white neighborhoods contain an average of four times as many supermarkets as African American ones do.  Studies also show that grocery stores in African-American communities are usually smaller and contain a smaller selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.  People’s choices about what to eat are severely limited by the options available to them and what they can afford—and many food deserts are in areas that offer a vast amount of fast food chains.  Fast food chains often sell cheap “meat” and dairy-based foods; these foods are high in fat, sugar and salt. Also, processed foods (such as snack cakes, chips and soda) typically sold by areas that contain corner delis, convenience stores and liquor stores are also known to be very unhealthy.


  Ron Finley Video