Instead of neglect, punish or attack why can’t we fight troubled teens, poverty and crime with plants? Strike it with hope in a better future, insist with the achievement of several objectives and surprise them with a relationship like only nature allows. Gardening or agriculture, even under the most adverse conditions, may be the best (if not the only) way to community development.

The gangsta gardener

Tired of driving 45 minutes to get a tomato, Ron Finley started to plant his own vegetables at his front door at the South Los Angeles. Even a notification by the local authorities (for growing food in public space) didn’t stopped him. He actually started a petition for the right of doing agriculture in his neighborhood. He became more than a gangsta gardener, he’s now turned into a community leader. Through gardening he wants to educate and inspire change, transforming the South Los Angeles food desert into a food forest.

The urban farming guys

Lykins Neighborhood in Kansas City is one of the most blighted and dangerous neighborhood in the U.S. It is also the base of operations zip code for The Urban Farming Guys project, that aims to “establish sustainable communities in the most difficult overlooked places on earth”.
This Guys want to bring hope back into the most hostile environments with a transformation that occurs from the inside out. By building and inspiring innovative and accessible reproducible solutions, they aim to create a sustainable community “that has local food & water security, freedom,  abundant local opportunity  and has the capacity to produce a positive value from within”. One of their programs is the Community Garden Program, with which they believe to create unique interactions between neighbors and “a huge source of education around healthy food”.
If you think this is one good way to community development, you can join them as a volunteer or become a “True Ally” donating monthly to the project.