Do You Wanna Be a Gangsta Gardener?

Sunni's picture

The local food movement has been big out here long before it really became a thing—which shouldn’t be surprising, since this region has a lot of agriculture and a fairly long growing season (and a lot of hippie types of all ages). Newly ensconced in one of the oldest sections of town one year ago this month, we were very happy to see that several homeowners nearby had converted their boring lawns into prime gardening spaces. A few have really invested in their urban gardening, constructing attractive raised beds and filling the area around them with warmth-hoarding rock.

It’s inspiring to see more people taking more responsibility for producing their own food (we have a lot of neighbors with chickens as well), particularly since the federal government seems hell-bent on corraling as many people as possible into relying on massive phood processing and manufacturing companies. It should be obvious from all the recalls, ranging from peanut butter to spinach to CAFO beef and chicken, that scaling food production up to industrial levels creates many problems and risks that are inherent in the infrastructure and systems that “efficient”, large-scale production requires. What might be less obvious is that federal foodocrats, oftentimes with help from local busybodies, also attempt to quash individuals’ abilities to source, purchase, and/or produce their own nutritious foods. Read Joel Salatin’s (of Polyface Farms fame) excellent book Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front to get a solid background in what’s going on; or, for a more focused examination, visit The Complete Patient to stay abreast of the difficulties faced by producers of raw milk and items made from raw milk (some commenters share excellent links that range far beyond raw-milk issues). There is no doubt in my mind that in most places across this country, self-sufficiency is being actively discouraged by government officials at all levels.

Knowing that makes a video I recently happened upon even more inspiring. Ron Finley is a self-described guerrilla gardener in south central Los Angeles; he minces no words in his ten-minute TED presentation. What he is doing is transformational to adults and children alike... and who knows what his seeds of self-sufficiency will yield as those kids grow up?

I never knew it until very recently, but I want to be a gangsta, guerrilla gardener too. Off to send an email to the owner of this house...

And we are a go with our gangsta garden!