On Saturday, July 14, actor Jennifer Garner celebrated Once Upon a Farm, the new “farm-to-family” food company with a strong focus on babies and children that she co-founded with Cassandra Curtis. The event at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett invited guests from the Hamptons crowd such as Rachel Zoe, Molly Sims, Jessica Capshaw, Estee Stanley, and their little ones to pick fresh produce, listen to live music and plant fruits and vegetables with Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener of the Ron Finley Project. Once Upon a Farm later donated the gardening plot from the event, along with $10,000 to NYC’s Edible Schoolyard.
Paper Magazine profiled Finley in Aug. 2017. The food justice revolutionary decided to get his hands dirty back in 2010 over the lack of healthy, organic food options in his LA South Central food desert neighborhood.
"Being in South Central, the food is food-ish stuff," he explains. "We can walk five minutes in any direction and get liquor, but we can walk ten miles in any direction, and we aren't gonna get an organic banana." Finley came to the realization that cities were designed for the interests of commerce, not people: "If cities were designed for people, they would look more like forests, and be lush and beautiful, and the air would be clean." He looked at the green grass parkway he'd been dutifully maintaining outside of his home, and decided, "If they're not putting beauty in my neighborhood, I'll do it myself." The answer was radical in its simplicity: he would grow his own food. He dug up the grass, and planted flowers, herbs, and all the fruits and vegetables he'd previously had to drive miles to buy.