Ron Finley is a Gardening Gangsta!

As we are stuck in our winter “wonderland”, I find myself daydreaming of spring, summer, and my renovation plans for my home. The 1st goal for spring will be to build a fence for my backyard and create a private oasis where I can enjoy the sun and relax in the great outdoors.  The push for the fence is also due to my desire to add a fury friend to our family!

Ron Finlay Post 1

As I think about the layout which will include a small grassed area, a garden, and a patio, I’m reminded of a fantastic speaker I had the pleasure of listening to at Greenbuild this past November, Ron Finley.

In his own words, is a Gardening Gangsta! He describes gardening as sexy and has dreams of community rejuvenation through developing edible gardens. Ron’s first project was driven by the lack of fresh produce in his neighborhood. What was the next best thing (or perhaps just the BEST thing? He set forth to build his first garden on the curbside of his home.  This action got him into trouble with his local authorities, but through perseverance and collaboration with other environmentalists he was able to continue his efforts to create edible gardens in the desert spaces of his community.

Ron Finlay Post 2

More important than his efforts is the impact he has made on his community. He has become a leader and educator of guerilla gardening by teaching the youth of the community about ways to cultivate, harvest, and maintain a healthy & nutritious garden.

Now that IS sexy!

So what am I going to take from his lessons?

1)      Find enjoyment in cultivating an edible landscape

2)     Share my success with my neighbors, friends & family

3)     Create a space that inspires others to do the same

I also have a very small space to achieve my entire plan so here are a couple of ideas that I’m going to implement to achieve my backyard oasis.

Ron Finlay Post 3

Hanging Herb Garden

Reusing tin cans & planting a variety of herbs. I like how this idea let’s you use vertical space to gain more garden space.

Re-purposing the existing fence

We have a very small fence that exists right now. My plan is to reuse the boards to build my new outdoor sectional.  I love the image below which uses old palettes to achieve the same goal. My biggest hurdle will be learning how to manage the skill saw.

Create Seclusion & Wayfinding

Use tall trees & scrubs around the perimeter of the yard so I feel completely enclosed in my green space. Use different floor materials to create transitions between each section of the backyard

Now I just have to wait for the snow to melt!


Carrie Signature Photo

Eating an Elephant

Have you ever heard the expression, “How do you eat an elephant?”

The answer is “One bite at a time.”  (Sorry to all our vegetarian and vegan readers.)


Well that’s sometimes how I feel about the challenge of living more sustainably.  There are so many issues to tackle and sometimes they become overwhelming. It’s in those moments when I want to throw up my hands and say “what’s the use?”  But I must remember that every journey is made up of many small steps.


Since our team returned from Green Build in November, I’ve been trying to maintain the momentum we gained by making small, sustainable choices. Here are a few that I’d like to share.

  • Taking the good one-sided paper from our recycling bin and put it into our printer. Much of the printing we do is for in office use, so if the back side has printing or writing on it, who cares.  New sheets of paper go in when we print for others (double sided printing if possible).


  • Being diligent about turning the lights off when we leave a room.

Lights Out

  • Unplugging the wall charger from the socket once the devices are fully charged.


  • Using a stainless steel coffee mug when getting take-away coffee/tea (stays hotter much longer too).


  • Replacing our trash bins with super tiny ones, and using those large bins for recycling.


  • Updating the library to environmentally-friendly companies/products only.


  • Bringing in some greenery into the office…and a sustainable one at that!


These are just a few of my elephant bites.

What are yours?


Tracy Signature Photo