PRODUCT REVIEW

Ron Finley MasterClass Review: Is it Worth it?

Kaitlin McCloughan
January 14, 2022

Ron Finley MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: Learn how to grow your own food in any space. Ron Finley offers advice on everything from which soil to use to how to manage pests. 

How long does the Ron Finley MasterClass take? 2 hours and 7 minutes

Similar courses: Alice Waters Teaches the Art of Home Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey Teaches Indian Cooking, Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training, Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation

Do I recommend Ron Finley’s MasterClass? Yes, I recommend this class to people interested in growing their own food, especially beginners.

Start the Ron Finley MasterClass

ron finley masterclass review

From the jade plant that I overwatered in college to the marble-sized garlic I grew last year, I’ve proven that I don’t have the greenest thumb.

Fortunately, the Ron Finley MasterClass has a chapter just for me: lesson 9 is called “How Not To Kill Your Plants.”

But this gardening MasterClass is about more than keeping your plants green — it’s about using gardening to transform communities and put healthy food on the table.

Can this MasterClass really teach you how to grow your own food?

Keep reading to find out.

In this review, I’ll break down exactly what Ron Finley’s MasterClass has to offer, including the cost, curriculum, and major takeaways.

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

Yes, I recommend the Ron Finley MasterClass to anyone interested in growing food, though it’s best suited for beginners. He’ll take you through everything you need to know to grow leafy greens, legumes, and more.

Ron Finley MasterClass Learn how to grow your own food

$15 /month
PROS
  • Ron Finley is an experienced gardener
  • The tips in the course are practical and can get you started from scratch
  • Ron Finley is a humorous and engaging speaker
  • Techniques are demonstrated visually
  • Lessons are recapped with bullet points
CONS
  • It’s one of the shorter MasterClasses
  • Instructor uses profanity
  • Aimed at people without much knowledge of gardening
  • The workbook doesn’t follow the structure of the course

A few frequently-asked questions (FAQs)

Before we look at the Ron Finley MasterClass curriculum, here are the answers to a few questions you might have.

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes. To access Ron Finley Teaches Gardening, you need a MasterClass membership. This membership will give you access to 100+ MasterClasses, all taught by experts.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

It does. You can cancel the auto-renewal of your yearly MasterClass subscription at any time. If you cancel within 30 days of signing up, you can request a full refund.

Who is the Ron Finley MasterClass for?

If you’re interested in getting started with gardening and growing your own food, this class is for you.

Anyone can follow the instructions in this MasterClass, even if you’ve never gardened or if a single windowsill is all the space you have.

However, if you’re already a master gardener, you probably won’t learn any new tips or techniques from this class.

Is the Ron Finley MasterClass worth it?

It’s absolutely worth it for anyone just getting into gardening or hoping to do so.

Let Ron Finley teach you how to make worm tea

About Ron Finley

Ron Finley’s rise to gardening fame started when he almost got arrested.

In 2010, tired of driving for 45 minutes to buy vegetables not covered in pesticides, he cleared the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street in front of his house and started planting foods like tomatoes, melons, broccoli, and kale.

At the time, the only thing you could legally plant on a parkway in Los Angeles was grass. A neighbor complained about his guerilla gardening, and after Finley’s second “offense,” a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Finley fought back, avoiding arrest and even getting the law changed. Vegetable gardens are now exempt from parkway landscaping restrictions in LA.

A TED talk with over 4 million views brought Ron Finley to national attention. Now known as the “Gangsta Gardener,” he runs a nonprofit called The Ron Finley Project to transform “food deserts” into “food forests.” He’s the subject of the 2015 documentary Can You Dig This.

Ron Finley believes that everyone should know where their food comes from and be empowered to grow their own. His mission is to rejuvenate the communities that need it most through urban gardening.

How much does the Ron Finley MasterClass cost?

You need a MasterClass subscription to access Ron Finley’s MasterClass. You can choose from three different plans, including Standard, Plus, and Premium.

All plans are billed annually.

MasterClass pricing plans
MasterClass plans & pricing

The Standard plan costs $180 per year and is all you need to access every course in the MasterClass library, including classes from Alice Waters on cooking seasonal food and Jane Goodall on conservation.

The Plus and Premium plans let you download the classes or watch them on multiple devices simultaneously.

Plus allows you to use two devices for $240 per year, and Premium allows up to six devices for $273 per year.

Unlock the Ron Finley MasterClass with a membership

What is included in the Ron Finley MasterClass?

Runtime:  2 hours 7 minutes

Course Value: 4.9/5

Lessons: 10

Supplementary materials: Workbook

Supplementary workbook

The course includes a 41-page downloadable workbook to help you internalize the material.

The workbook covers the same information you’ll learn in the course, like how to choose the right plant for your climate zone and how to handle seedlings.

However, the structure and order of the information are quite different.

Typical MasterClass workbooks follow the video course lesson by lesson, recapping the main points and giving related assignments. The Ron Finley MasterClass workbook chapters aren’t the same as the video lessons.

I found this a little confusing. The information is there, but it would be more convenient if you could match the lesson you’re watching to a page in the workbook.

Screenshot of downloadable MasterClass workbook
Ron Finley MasterClass Workbook

I enjoyed the look and feel of the workbook, with plant illustrations and other visuals, not just a plain wall of text.

A complete breakdown of the Ron Finley MasterClass curriculum

Ron Finley’s MasterClass comprises ten video lessons ranging from two to twenty-two minutes.

The complete list of lessons is as follows.

Curriculum:

  • Meet Your Instructor
  • Planting a Revolution
  • Getting Dirty
  • Creating Planters
  • Grow Your Own Food: Greens & Legumes
  • Grow Your Own Food: Sweet Potatoes
  • Grow Your Own Food: Herbs
  • Grow Your Own Food: Increasing Your Bounty
  • How Not To Kill Your Plants
  • Finding Your Creativity

Course summary:

Before we get to the business of actually gardening, Ron Finley tells us his story and explains why he’s so passionate about gardening.

It’s not just a hobby. It’s a food revolution.

Planting gardens, especially in disadvantaged communities, can make use of wasted land, help people be healthier, and even lower crime rates.

And taking control of one’s food source is just common sense. Finley says, “People ask me: why did you start growing food? I’m like because it’s food, you clown, why would you not grow food?”

Ron Finley MasterClass screenshot

Now that the stage is set and we know what’s at stake, we jump into the practical side of growing food.

Get your hands dirty

A lot of the courses on MasterClass are more theoretical than practical.

The Hans Zimmer MasterClass is great, but you won’t get step-by-step instructions for composing film music. And the Chris Hadfield MasterClass definitely won’t turn you into an astronaut.

This MasterClass is different.

In just over two hours, you can learn everything you need to know to grow all kinds of useful plants. Ron Finley takes you step by step through making sure you have the right kind of soil, creating planters out of upcycled materials, planting seeds or propagating plants, and maintaining your garden.

He teaches the whole class in his garden, demonstrating how to accomplish each step.

Ron Finley MasterClass gardening demonstration
Ron Finley MasterClass Demo

Profanity warning: Cabbage moths are assholes

Ron Finley is both knowledgeable and entertaining. He clearly explains and demonstrates everything in a humorous, casual style.

Fair warning: the profanity disclaimer at the beginning of the first lesson isn’t a joke.

I personally enjoyed his delivery and thought it kept the class fun.

But if you don’t care to hear that compost is like “when Bambi dies or some shit,” or if you can’t accept that “air is gangsta as fuck,” this may not be the course for you.

Easy learning

This class is relatively short, but it covers a lot of ground. From microclimates to bioremediation, there’s a lot to keep track of.

If you get to the end of the “types of dirt” section and can’t quite remember what loamy means, you’re in luck. The course includes bullet-pointed recaps of important information.

Composting bullet points from Ron Finley MasterClass
Ron Finley MasterClass Bullet Points

I hadn’t seen this in a MasterClass before and thought it was quite helpful.

What I learned

This MasterClass was about more than learning to put plants in the ground — although it also did a nice job of demonstrating that.

Here are four things I learned from the Ron Finley MasterClass.

4 takeaways from this MasterClass

1. Food is power:

Being able to grow your own food puts you in control. You’re no longer wholly reliant on unhealthy commercial food sources.

According to Finley, if even 2% of people started growing their own food, they would also have the power to demand that the food delivered to stores was healthier.

And to achieve this, we don’t all have to grow 100% of our own food. We can take back the power by growing food in communities. Each person gardens their plot of land, and the result is that the whole neighborhood has fresh healthy produce.

2. Gardening is easy and affordable:

All of the gardening tips in the Ron Finley MasterClass are easy to understand and follow.

They also don’t require a lot of resources.

For example, Finley promotes making planters out of used materials like old dresser drawers. Or, “You can take your boyfriend’s old boot that he left when you kicked him out of the house and put some soil in it. Bam!”

He also talks about propagating plants like fruit trees. You don’t have to buy a tree from a nursery — you can get clippings from a neighbor’s tree to grow your own.

3. You’re the expert on your own garden

We may not all have Ron Finley’s artistic background (he was a fashion designer before he became a full-time gardener), but he insists we all have a creative force in us.

He’s an expert on his own garden, he says, but we know what’s right for ours. He encourages us to take responsibility and “be the artist” in our space.

4. Everyone has green thumbs; if you give yourself permission

As humans, you are naturally born with an innate sense of how to plant and take care of plants. You just have to connect with your inner bond with mother nature.

Most people don’t give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and stress out over minor details instead of doing what feels right for each plant. Gardening isn’t rocket science. It’s a way to reconnect with nature, and it comes naturally, as long as you give yourself permission.

This course helped me overcome my doubts in my gardening skills and get back out there, planting herbs and food again.

Find out how to fix your toxic soil

Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“Food is medicine. But we’re not treating it like that. We’re treating it like it’s just slop for pigs.”

Lesson 2, Planting a Revolution

“If you can’t read that shit, don’t eat that shit. Nothing in nature has 16 letters that you can’t pronounce.”

 — Lesson 2, Planting a Revolution

“It’s real simple: you got some sun, you got some soil, you got water, and you got a seed. Now where do you want your beauty to grow from?”

Lesson 10, Finding Your Creativity

“What would mother nature do? That’s what I want you to do. It’s already in you.”

Lesson 10, Finding Your Creativity

Ron Finley MasterClass pros and cons

Every MasterClass has its pros and cons. I don’t have many complaints about the course, but there are reasons it may not appeal to everyone.

Pros

You can learn plenty of real, practical skills in this two-hour course. It explains concepts clearly and holds your attention.

  • Ron Finley is an experienced gardener
  • The tips in the course are practical and can get you started from scratch
  • Ron Finley is a humorous and engaging speaker
  • Techniques are demonstrated visually
  • Lessons are recapped with bullet points

Cons

The first three “cons” on this list might be “pros” for some of you — it just depends on what you want from the course.

  • It’s one of the shorter MasterClasses
  • Instructor uses profanity
  • Aimed at people without much knowledge of gardening
  • The workbook doesn’t follow the structure of the course

Do I recommend this MasterClass?

Yes, I recommend the Ron Finley MasterClass to anyone interested in growing food, though it’s best suited for beginners.

Ron Finley takes you through everything you need to know to grow leafy greens, legumes, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and more.

The class is easy to understand, entertaining, and inspirational.

“Go plant some shit” with Ron Finley