Meet the Guerilla Gardner

The video below features a man named Ron Finley.  And when I say "man", I don't just mean "male", I mean man -  the responsible kind who has compassion for his community and uses his passion to do what needs to be done to accomplish what needs to be accomplished for the betterment of his people.  I was exposed to him today and now I want to expose who he is to you. Watch the video.

This fella is a guy who saw a need in his community and did what he needed to do to fix it.  While this isn't in Atlanta, the heart behind his efforts is still very necessary.
This speaks a lot to the issues that we have in many communities; people in poorer areas can't eat healthy because there aren't any healthy places to eat.  A business' retort may be that they've tried but the people didn't buy it - the consumers couldn't afford it.  While this may be true, the question becomes "why can't they afford to eat healthy".   And then we start looking at how the land is zoned.... what can be built where.  Let's look at how far a person would have to travel to locate a job that is worth wasting your time at.  Let's look at how bad the public transportation is to try to get to that job.  Let's look at why there is so many check cashing places that take a ridiculous fee just to change your hard earned check into money you can actually use, but not many banks; why there is so many "corner stores" that serve honey buns and stale donuts, but no Whole Foods; why there are so many liquor stores but no Robeks Fruit Smoothies. To be honest, you gotta drive quite far from the hood before Taco Bell becomes Chipotle.  Without having the opportunity to be properly exposed (in a relatively convenient manner) to a healthy lifestyle, eating marginally better is probably out of reach for many... unless you have time to grow a garden.


Some of it is our fault... It flat out is.  I remember when they first built Stonecrest Mall out in Lithonia.  Now, for the record, Lithonia is not the hood; it's mainly full of - what used to be considered - middle-classed families.  The area is still relatively decent but follow me as I make this very relative point. When the mall first opened it was nice... very nice; they even had a Discovery Kids store.  Sadly the Discovery kids store got replaced with a Footaction. Not hating on Footaction at all; that Footaction is very nice... but considering the fact that you have a Champs, Footlocker, Lady Footlocker, Kids Footlocker, DTLR, Underground Station, Journeys, AND Finish Line; not to mention various other clothing boutiques that sell shoes, another one just really shined a light on what we value. Slowly other stores began to fade away (Starbucks, Gap, Borders, etc)... partly because of the economy and partly because people would rather drive 45 minutes to Lenox Mall just to "flex" and say they were on the "more prominent" side of Atlanta instead of shopping in their own backyard.  I complain to my friends to this day about driving all the way to Lenox to go to Buffalo Wild Wings when we have the EXACT SAME restaurant on our side of town.

It's almost like a test or something.... Like somebody is sitting down in a room and saying "Let's feed them this Smoothie King (which seems more like the healthy version of Brusters once you've been exposed to other stuff) and see how they support it"... And when we don't, they say "Well, we don't need to give them a Whole Foods; you see how our first attempt at giving them healthy food worked out. Whole Foods won't survive in that area!"

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, if you don't make a demand for it, you either won't get it or you will lose it.  The few of those that know better need to teach others to do better...  But they dont...
And so the few good things we do get, we don't keep... and our actions justify the "don't bother giving it to them cause they don't want it" attitude.... Honestly, at this point, it's almost better to just try to do something on your on like Ron Finley did and hope it becomes contagious.

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