Perhaps many of you will remember the popular children’s television show, Captain Kangaroo; for those of you who don’t, it’s worth a Google! Mr. Green Jeans was the Captain’s soft spoken sidekick and taught us about the importance of taking care of the earth by planting seeds.
Ron Finley is definitely the quintessential “Mr. Green Jeans” of the 10th District. He is a talented artist of many disciplines but his greatest passion is advocating the planting of vegetable gardens in our community. He is one of the co-founders of an organization called L.A. Green Grounds whose mission is to plant gardens in communities where there is lack of access to fresh produce. He planted an unfenced garden on his local parkway and filled it with the most beautiful and colorful vegetables, everything from collard greens to red Swiss chard to purple Japanese eggplant and edible flowers. During a visit to his garden he tested my ability to identify vegetables by pinching off a leaf or an edible flower and urging me to taste it.
He engages his neighbors in conversation as people young and old walk by, fascinated by vegetables growing in a public place in the middle of the community. The garden generated conflict when the city questioned the legality of planting on the
parkway. The press including the L.A. Times and the Sundance Channel online blog, Sunfiltered, the 10th district Council office and most importantly, the community supported Ron and his garden and as of this date his hearing has been postpned indefinitely. Viewing this as a victory there is now an effort to plant gardens on parkways throughout the city. Ron believes gardens bring the community together, encourages healthy eating and lifestyles.