I absolutely love TED [the ideas conferences, not the annoying teddy bear in that woeful movie with Marky Mark. What was he thinking…].
I try to watch a few TED videos each week and there are few that have stayed with me as much as this one.
Ron Finley grew up in South Central LA, a part of the world perhaps best known for 1965 Watts riots and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
South Central is definitely NOT known for is its proliferation of fresh fruit and veg. It has been classed as a food desert [defined by US Department of Agriculture as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers”].
Ron was sick of having to drive a 45 minute round trip to a grocery store to get an apple “not impregnated with pesticides” so he decided to do something about it. That something was plant a few veggies on the verge outside his street. The barren bit of land was going to waste – you know the ones. Just like I see in Brisbane every time I go for a walk. Sure there might be grass and a tree or two, but surely at least some can be put to better use.
I’m not going to tell you all of Ron’s story as I want you to watch it. It’s only about 10 minutes long. Less than a quarter of the time it took Ron to drive to buy an apple.
This is something many of us can do in our communities. If you don’t want to be as “radical” as Ron, there are other ways. Plant some herbs in a pot, pop some tomatoes in the ground (cherry tomatoes grow anywhere!], become part of a community garden or volunteer at one – check out the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network or google community gardens in your town.
If you’re in Brisbane check out the herb and veggie gardens at South Bank [along the river, between QPAC and GOMA]. They are very cool. They are a bit overgrown, but over the last 18 months I’ve seen a huge variety – lemongrass, thyme, basil, chives, sorrel, rosemary, chilli, mint, rocket, tomatoes and I have even seen beetroot! They are intended to be eaten, so next time you go to South Bank take a little plastic bag so you can collect a few fresh herbs to add to your dinner.
|some of the herbs at South Bank, Brisbane|
Feel free to share your ideas or any community gardens in your community in the comments below.