How 'Gangster Gardener' Ron Finley Started a Food Revolution from His Front Yard

This year, he shared his compendium of knowledge as part of MasterClass, the digital platform that provides video lessons taught by superstars in fields from filmmaking to political strategy. Now, with his organization the Ron Finley Project, he travels the world leading workshops and seminars.

While the urban-gardening movement has grown—“I get messages from people in the U.K., Brazil, India,” he says—it has felt especially vital to him in the last few months, when the pandemic magnified issues of food insecurity and protests called for racial equality.

Finley says gardening is more important than ever. “This is not a hobby, this is a life skill. Everybody should be able to have a healthy, nutritious meal, and this is where it starts.”

And he's optimistic about the future. “We have an opportunity now to change things. That’s what I love,” he says. “Everything starts small. Everything you eat starts with a flower before it’s a piece of fruit or a vegetable.”

Ron Finley’s MasterClass on Gardening is available now on

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