MasterClass, the platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best, announced that community activist and self-proclaimed “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley will teach a class on gardening. In the class, he dives into the basics of gardening as well as the power and freedom that come with being able to grow your own food in any environment. He also shares his personal wisdom, discussing how gardening leads to a reverence for mother nature, why he feels “food is medicine,” and how all the creativity you need to succeed is already inside you. Finley’s MasterClass is now available exclusively at MasterClass.com. Students can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing 80+ classes through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include business, culinary arts, film & television, music & entertainment, photography, sports, lifestyle and more.
“Ron uses gardening as a tool to transform people and communities — he is literally planting a food revolution,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “There’s never been a more important time for Ron’s MasterClass – he teaches us how to grow our own food and live more sustainably – no matter how much space we have, even if it’s just a balcony or a few outdoor pots.”
A South Central Los Angeles native, Finley has used his position as an artist, designer and gardener to support urban communities. In 2010, he was frustrated with his neighborhood’s status as a “food desert”—an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious ingredients—and took matters into his own hands by growing organic vegetables on the city-owned parkway strip next to his home. He was cited and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He chose to fight city hall, but after a deluge of media attention and support from a council member, he got the laws changed and was allowed to maintain his vegetable garden on the parkway strip. That was the first step in a revolution in Ron’s life, and he dedicated himself to creating cost-effective gardening solutions for neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Later that year, he founded the Ron Finley Project, a non-profit that teaches communities how to use unused space, like parkways and vacant lots, and turn them into fruitful community gardens. The organization helps spread Ron’s vision that “gardening is gangsta” and even the “cool kids” should understand their nutrition and where their food is coming from. He’s taken his philosophy across the world, sharing his story in speeches and conferences, including his own TED Talk in 2013.
“Freedom is gangster, and gardens represent freedom to me,” said Ron Finley. “With my MasterClass, I want you to feel the magic in creating something with your own hands—the power of growing your own food and building community, one garden at a time.”
In his MasterClass, Finley teaches members everything they need to know to plant, grow and harvest their own food, from kale to sugar snap peas and sweet potatoes to herbs. He talks through why it’s best to grow kale from seedlings and legumes as seeds, and how resilient potatoes are and the many ways that you can plant them. He recommends which herbs to grow for beginners, how easy it is to have an herb garden in a small space and how to take care of herbs. Finley also teaches you how to not kill your plants by walking through proper plant maintenance, and how to pinpoint and treat common issues like rootbound and over- or under-watering. He walks through the essential gardening tools, and how to turn an old drawer, a teapot and even a shoe into plant containers. All students—whether they consider themselves to have a “green thumb” or have never planted anything before—will walk away from Finley’s MasterClass knowing how to be better gardeners, beautify their environments, and feeling inspired by his enthusiasm for sustainability and community.
The class joins the 80+ classes taught by world-renowned instructors on culinary arts, photography, writing, performance, and much more. Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor. The All-Access Pass gives you access to every MasterClass and new ones as they launch.