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RON FINLEY, “The Gangsta Gardener”

January 18 / 1:00 pm EST

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Ron Finley

Growing up in the “food prison” of South Central Los Angeles, Ron Finley was familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce and didn’t want others to be forced to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato. In 2010, he set out to solve the problem outside his own front door by planting vegetables in the curbside dirt next to his home. After being cited for gardening without a permit, Ron fought back by demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood. Catching the eyes of creative leaders and the media, he has continued to share his story and vision with the world, giving a widely-viewed TED talk and planning many exciting ways to continue his involvement in mitigating Los Angeles food prisons.

Ten years later he has helped create dozens of community gardens in unused spaces around Los Angeles. “Plant some s***,” has been his simple mantra and the isolation forced upon the world by COVID-19 has proved to be an unlikely ally in getting that message across. Come hear him talk about his experiences and why we should all be planting seeds for our own tables.

Register for this free event below. Registration for this event will close at 9am ET on Jan. 18.


Moderated by Vanessa S. Pacheco
Coordinator for Civic Engagement, Civic Engagement and Leadership Development (CELD)
ACE Food Campus Pantry, Staff Advisor

This event is taking place as part of a week-long celebration of events recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Finley’s talk will kick off a campus-wide food drive benefitting the ACE Campus Food Pantry at Purdue that will conclude on Friday, January 22. Other events will include an art show in downtown Lafayette and a keynote presentation by former Ambassador Andrew Young. More information on the keynote address is available here.

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