Gangster Gardener

“Let’s all be: Ecolutionary, Renegades, Gangsters. We have to change the script on what a gangster is. If you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangster! Be gangster with your shovel; And let that be your weapon of choice.”

Ron Finley

Et voila!

We all need a hero. At least, we all seek to have one and be inspired. Ron Finley is my modern hero. There are more like him out there, so we all can have heroes and even share them.

Ron’s TED talk says all that we, the team of CC GROW, believe in: “Food is the Problem and Food is the Solution.” In a New York Times article, Ron’s philosophy is perfectly laid out:

“People need to realize how powerful the transformation of soil can be,” he said, with a hint of evangelism. “We’ve gotten so far away from our food source. It’s been hijacked from us. But if you get soil, plant something in it and water it, you can feed yourself. It’s that simple.”

There is nothing more empowering than being active about change, responsible for transformation, and the inspiration for all generations.

Ron Finley is an example that we can all start to make a difference: in our yard, on our front lawns, inside our homes. Start moving dirt and growing plants that you can eat! Take charge of your health through the power of what you eat! Feed your soul and body with the best healing: gardening is therapy and food is thy medicine!

Let this be your gospel! And be proud to be a gangster gardener!

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
Ron’s website: for more inspiration on “doing” not “talking”

And because he “walks” the “talk”, if you want to help the Ron Finley Project

An insight on Ron’s story, in his spirit, fun and outspoken; let us be inspired some more!

A Call for Urban Farmers

Increasing Efficiencies & Rad Decentralization

The world we live in today is rapidly developing, and our global population is growing exponentially. Not only are there more people on earth than ever before, but for the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural environments. This new urban landscape has allowed incredible increases in productivity and output, but this rapidly increasing population density poses a serious challenge to harmonious cohabitation with our natural environment.

The city is an interesting place. On the surface, we’re exposed to flashing lights, gourmet meals, and 5 star fast living. But take away a person’s ability to feed themselves, and I guarantee you would quickly see the veil of order fall to chaos. There is incredible fragility and inefficiency in the urban food supply chain. Most cities are lucky if they have a 3 day supply for their entire populace, and 50% of all food produced goes to waste. By giving apartment dwellers and urban inhabitants efficient tools to cultivate edible and medicinal plants, we can reduce waste while easing the stress on centralized distribution systems.

How do we do this?

Thankfully, visionary ecologists and engineers have already provided the building blocks to a sustainable future (I’ve linked to a few of them at the bottom of this article). We just need to help put their theories into practice.

The combination of advanced technologies, new material sciences, and age old soil-based cultivation techniques can provide real solutions to the problems of food security and sustainable production.

After all, industrialization is a new phenomenon, one which is still evolving as new evidence of its impact on our environment is brought to light. If we can sustain the lives of astronauts living in the most inhospitable environment, we can surely feed ourselves here on earth.


Carolyn Herriot – The Zero Mile Diet
Allan Savory – Reversing Desertification
William McDonough – Cradle to Cradle Production
Marcin Jakubowski – The Global Village Construction Set

Front Range Bioneers

I was excited to attend the 2014 Front Range Bioneers Conference held at the University of Colorado Boulder campus, just a short bike ride from my home. Presentations from local businesses, farms, and community groups were supplemented with live performances and informative and inspiring videos of presenters recorded at the national Bioneers Conference, held earlier in the year in California. I felt like this event would offer me a chance to connect with others who are interested in implementing sustainable change in the Front Range community.

Though it was extremelboulder co flatironsy difficult to choose which of the myriad workshops I would attend, I did, of course, end up at a few food-centered talks. At the Local Farms session, I got to hear a panel of four Boulder County farmers discuss the joys and hardships of trying to provide healthy food to their communities while sustaining a small business and dealing with the fickle Colorado weather and governmental bureaucracy. The unfortunate bottom line: don’t expect to quit your day job immediately (or ever…) if you choose to start a farm.

Many local food and farm centered organizations sent representatives to talk about their activities.

Denver’s non-profit GrowHaus is working on providing economic and educational opportunities for low income residents in their neighborhood. They are working on the cutting edge of modern farming with productive and efficient hydroponic and aquaponic systems in their indoor greenhouse growing spaces.

Longmont-based Garage Grocer runs a neighborhood food co-op, operating on the honor system. Is provides its members with locally grown produce, grass fed beef and dairy products, and other responsibly sourced non-local goods like maple syrup and olive oil.

UrbiCulture Community Farms is practicing a new style of urban farming, using multiple small plots of land to compile a large farm’s worth of produce from within the limits of Denver’s metro area. This both beautifies previously unused urban land and reduces transportation needs inherent in the current food system.

I ended the weekend feeling inspired, grateful, and ready to engage with CC Grow’s mission of helping our community to eat healthily while reducing carbon footprints and reconnecting with our neighbors over a delicious plate of home-grown plant-based food.