"Let him that would move the world first move himself."
Puro Plants is a movement promoting healthy lifestyles and environments started by Matthew Ramos. The seed for Puro Plants was originally planted in 2012 when Matthew was living in New York City. He used his free time between jobs to educate himself about sustainable ecology and healthy lifestyles. He was inspired to try a plant-based lifestyle and further his health journey. That same year hurricane Sandy hit NYC, flooding lower Manhattan and stalling all bridges and tunnels in and out of the city. It caused a food shortage and power outages on the island. Although temporary, the event was a wake up call: Matthew realized the importance of growing food locally and communally to support highly populated urban areas.
He moved to Nicaragua in 2013 with the intent to immerse himself in a culture more connected and respectful to the land. He found a country living between two worlds: one with a higher sense of tribal community and another focused on developing and integrating global capitalism. What influenced him the most was the food systems and access to natural resources: fruit trees were abundant, open air markets offered local homegrown vegetables and a majority of fresh food, including fish, traveled less than five miles. How could he integrate this into his native city?
When he returned to Los Angeles he lived in an apartment with a small grassy area that he turned into a garden where he grew corn, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers. He ate what he grew and shared the excess with his family and friends. He started an instagram to share and inspire his neighbors, originally named Urban Grow Program. Matthew dreamed of creating a community supported farm on the right-of-way owned by Southern California Edison between the housing tract a few blocks away.
Matthew found work at a plant-based restaurant that sourced their produce from local family farms. It inspired him to learn about local grown food and community farming methods, much inspired by the spirit of Ron Finley and Detroit’s AgriHood. He was also introduced to plant-based doctors, chefs, athletes, influencers, healers and more with a plethora of stories of the miracles of plants.
In 2020 he applied for a vacant plot of land with Southern California Edison in Montebello to start a new venture called Puro Plants: a community supported farm creating soil and growing food to distribute back to the community. Work on Puro Plants began in September 2020 with a handful of occasional volunteers. It grew quickly, much like the produce, and became a hub for health-minded community members offering compost drop-off, children's programs, gardening classes, farmers/artisanal markets and more.
For a year Puro Plants was highly successful in encouraging the community to adopt healthy lifestyles. Together the community diverted 60,000 pounds of organic material, grew hundreds of pounds of food, educated over 900 students and held multiple health events. The plan for Puro Plants included acquisition of the restaurant directly adjacent to the farm to create a farm-to-table restaurant to nourish the community.
However, when the city of Montebello interfered with the land contract, made clear their opposing vision of health and demanded costly irrational fees, Southern California Edison revoked the license and Puro Plants farm was closed in October 2021.
Puro Plants continues to inspire and educate community online. The plan is to find a new home for Puro Plants as a community farm, learning center or restaurant somewhere in the world. Please sign-up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with our next moves!
Revised December 2021