Gardening: therapeutic, defiant, gangster

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do.” –Ron Finley

019A while ago I stumbled on this TED talk by Ron Finley and loved it. This week a friend reminded me of it again and I love it even more now.

Growing food makes us healthy. It makes our children healthy. It builds relationships and strengthens communities. It makes economic sense, too. “It’s like printing money!” he says.

If you have ten minutes, you need to watch this:

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

A white middle-aged woman in the suburbs may not be very gangster, but I understand him completely. I know for a fact that because my kids see swiss chard growing in tiny pots in the kitchen, and because they water the community garden after church (while they wait for their mom to finally stop talking to all those people!) and because they also know exactly how to pick the outside leaves so that it keeps producing all summer long–I know that because of all that, they eat it and declare it delicious even though it’s not deep fried or covered in sugar.

024I also know that front yards (even church yards!) can grow more than grass. Way more. Landscaping with vegetables is a legitimate thing to do, even where I live in the homogeneous suburbs. Red runner beans can look just as gorgeous as a clematis climbing up a trellis. Spicy hot peppers are tidy little bedding plants that are just as nice as begonias. But growing your own vegetables means that you can eat cheap food. Fresh food. Chemical-free food. It also means that you will appreciate how hard someone had to work to grow that bag of lettuce you just bought at the grocery store.  

Gardening is his gospel, Ron says. You preach it, brother. Like he says, we need to “get out there and plant some sh*t”!

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