Urban Garden In Crenshaw District Gets Reprieve

By Cary Berglund and Daisy LIn
|  Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011  |  Updated 5:49 AM PDT
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Cary Berglund talked with Ron Finley about the garden he planted in the parkway.  The city was threatening him with a citation and a fine.

Cary Berglund talked with Ron Finley about the garden he planted in the parkway. The city was threatening him with a citation and a fine.

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Ron Finley discovered his green thumb after taking a gardening class at the Natural History Museum.  

He decided to plant food in his parkway, the plot of public land between the sidewalk and the curb.

The minute the tomatoes ripened and the squash blossomed, Finley became the neighborhood green go-to guy.

"This is dirt, why water grass when you could be feeding people and growing fresh food?" he said.

He created a group called LA Green Grounds to show people what's possible.

"They consider this their garden.  My thing is bring some, get some.  Bring a shovel,  a seed, weed, pick up some trash, harvest, help the harvest, just pay it forward," Finley said.

However, not everyone liked the parkway transformation and someone complained to the city, which then cited Finley, and told him to get a permit or pay a hefty fine.

Once word got out, the community mobilized around the garden, and the city backed off, cancelling a hearing scheduled for Friday. 

The victory goes to the garden, which continues to feed the neighborhood.

"Just imagine if you had a whole block, where one person is growing kale, one person is growing arugula, one person has peaches, apples, on the same block.  They get together and everybody shares that food.  That could happen.  It's possible,"  he said.

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