Ron Finley lives and plants food in south-central Los Angeles. He calls himself an artist, and soil is his canvas. He cares about his neighbors, who have significantly higher incidences of food-related health problems, and he wants to help; so he gardens. As I write these descriptors, I can imagine you visualizing a soft-spoken, somewhat ethereal man who exudes compassion and empathy. And that image would be off. Because Ron Finley is edgy, witty, angry, and takes no s&*t as he tells people to join him and “Plant some s&*t.”

And perhaps this is what I loved most when I watched his captivating, empowering, take-no-s&*t TED talk. That our stereotypes of everyone—gardeners and farmers, angry black men, revolutionaries and radicals, those living in poverty—all get turned upside down so that we’re left with this: There’s work to be done to transform unjust, unhealthy systems, and we need to be part of it.

~ Zoe

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm; Above All, Be Kind; and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach
My TEDxYouth@CEHS “How to Be a Solutionary”


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