The Urban Gardening Movement Keeps Growing: City Council OKs Edible Plants for L.A. Parkways

Meaning you can harvest fruits and veggies by the side of the road (for free!)

Thanks to the passing of a new citywide ordinance, the future of L.A. sidewalks is coming up fruits and veggies. The City Council this week voted to allow residents to plant urban gardens in parkways (that’s the land between the sidewalk and the curb) without a special permit. (Growing fruit trees, however, still requires special permission.) Specific regulations need to be written and approved before the law can go into effect, but the council’s support marks a milestone for advocates like “guerilla gardener” Ron Finley, who planted a veritable produce aisle outside his South Los Angeles home in 2010 to make a point about the neighborhood’s lack of access to healthy food options. “I’m elated,” said Finley (who spent today at Natural Products Expo West, a trade show for producers and purveyors of green products). “The benefit for the city is healthier citizens, fresher air, new ecosystems. I see birds outside my house that I’ve never seen before. That means a lot.”

The key to enjoying keeping an edible garden on the street, he says, is seeing it not as a private asset worth protecting from thieves and neighborhood pets, but as a gift to the community. “Someone’s going to steal your fruit,” he says, “someone stole all the oranges off my tree. But you can’t let one person ruin it for everybody else. That’s why I’m like, ‘Come take my food.’ It’s for everyone. This is about changing our culture.”