Garden activist Ron Finley writes an eloquent piece for Fortune magazine. In it, he shares the story of how the seeds of his activism were planted, and the ways in which they’ve grown and inspired and influenced the work of others.


“Then, in May 2011, I got a citation to remove my garden from the city’s Bureau of Street Services—it said that, since the city has jurisdiction over parkways, I had two options: clear the “overgrown vegetation” or purchase a $400 permit. I didn’t do either, of course. The citation turned into a warrant. I got an arrest warrant for beautifying my street—a warrant for planting a carrot!”


Mr. Finley’s story was picked up by Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez, and soon a city council member was also involved. The paradigm shifted.


“In 2013, the L.A. City Council voted to change the law—it is now legal to grow food on your parkway in Los Angeles.”


Mr. Finley participated in the four-week “Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative” program, offered by the University of California Master Gardener Program in Los Angeles County. (The class Mr. Finley participated in is still held at the Natural History Museum, and is led by UC Master Gardener volunteer Florence Nishida). The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative program helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden. Classes are scheduled for Spring 2015 throughout the Los Angeles area; click here for more information.

The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative is part of the University of California’s Global Food Initiative, which seeks to harness the institution’s resources to address one of the most vital issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population.


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Ron Finley TedX Talk