Guerrilla gardening is an increasingly popular way of reclaiming dead or derelict public spaces and improving them while having some fun. GuerrillaGardening.org says: “There is neglected orphaned land all over the place. Pockets of resistance have broken out in some areas as guerrilla gardeners fight back to reclaim this precious resource and cultivate it.”
More neutrally, guerrilla gardening can just be considered gardening on another person’s land without getting permission to do so, which can be done for a variety of different reasons. But, with the “guerrilla” term in there, I think guerrilla gardening clearly implies a sort of underground or innovative activism.
Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia on guerrilla gardening:
The land that is guerrilla gardened is usually abandoned or neglected by its legal owner and the guerrilla gardeners takes it over (“squat”) to grow plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Some garden at more visible hours to be seen by their community. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism.
Seed Bomb/Green Grenade
One common “weapon” for guerrilla gardeners is the Seed Bomb:
“The Seed Bomb (or Green Grenade) in whatever form it takes is designed to enable seeds to be sown in a hard to reach place and in locations where a gardener is unable to spend long preparing the ground for conventional growing. They are therefore of great use to gardeners who have ambitions to garden in challenging locations or who fear trouble if they spend too long tending the ground and can enable very spontaneous floral attacks,” GuerrillaGardening.org informs us. This site goes on to discuss a range of very innovative seed bombs.
GREENAID: Change for Change
In a creative effort to spread seed bombing and guerrilla gardening to a much broader portion of the population (in Los Angeles, at least), COMMONStudio is turning dozens of gum-ball or candy machines into seed bomb or “GREENAID” machines.
Greenaid’s seed bombs are made of clay, compost and seeds. If you purchase a machine, COMMONStudio will develop a seed mix and a strategic neighborhood intervention plan for you in response to the “unique ecologies of your area”. They will go on and supply you with all the seed bombs you need as well.
COMMONStudio innovators Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud have also put a map of ideal Seed Bombing spots on the back of all their packages.
On why this matters, COMMONStudio writes: “It’s fun, profitable, educational, sustainable, and interactive (and won’t leave you with a cavity). Greenaid is equally an interactive public awareness campaign, a lucrative fundraising tool, and a beacon for small scale grass roots action that engages directly yet casually with local residents to both reveal and remedy issues of spatial inequity in their community.”
Looks like a great project, a true step in stimulating civic responsibility and revitalizing dead spaces in cities! As Fast Company writes, “Greenaid Fosters Johnny Appleseeds for the 21st-Century.”
For more on COMMONSTudio’s Greenaid project, including a good 2-minute local news video on the project, visit the GREENAID: Change for Change webpage.