by Robert Wilkinson
They’re still at it, and the movement seems to be spreading! This may be one solution to the problem of urban neglect and the associated problems of people who live in cities.
I first told you about this phenomenon going on in Buenos Aires this time last year in Ending Hunger – Rebel Gardeners Wage Veggie War With “Seed Bombs.” Today we find courtesy of the WaPo article ‘Guerrilla gardeners’ spread seeds of social change that similar efforts are happening in Baltimore, D.C., Detroit, Portland, and other US cities.
The “golfball sized lumps of mud” contain flower and vegetable seeds packed in clay and wet compost, and are thrown wherever they might grow in city lots that up to now are barren. Here’s a bit from the story:
... guerrilla gardening dates from the late-1960s establishment of People’s Park in Berkeley, Calif., when a disused patch of land near the University of California campus was co-opted by the community and reimagined as a public green. Today... it takes place in more than 30 countries, with much of the activity documented on the British-based Web site guerrillagardening.org. It has spread in the United States in recent years, spurred by the “green” movement and the increased demand for locally grown, healthful food.
“I think it’s also a democratic statement and an experiment in re-creating space,” says Columbia Heights environmental consultant Tristanne Days, 24, as she carefully assembles seed bombs. “We’re making the city what we want.”
They’re doing it one flower at a time. The bombs will — in theory — bloom into bachelor’s buttons and baby’s breath, forget-me-nots and marigolds when the truffle-size balls hit, then expand. It also helps if there’s a healthy spring rain, said Scott Aker, head of horticulture for the U.S. National Arboretum. If the bombs are launched into a sunny space where there’s not too much other vegetation present, then he gives the seeds a 70 percent chance of blooming. “But either way, it sounds like great fun,” Aker says. “On your commute, you can toss one out the window.”
By all means check out the article while it’s still up via the link I gave you, since the link to the MSNBC article from last year no longer works (though I gave you some paragraphs in my article covering it.) There’s a lot more in the WaPo article, including the fact that technically it’s against the law to plant flowers and vegetables without a permit in Washington DC, which seems really absurdly stupid when I think about it.
Anyway, it’s another effort to reverse retrograde thinking about urban space, food, beauty, and wise use of community resource. I suspect this movement will keep growing despite the efforts of authorities to control “seed bombing.” At least seed bombs are better than metal ones. Less destruction, more beauty, food, and flowers for those who live in urban spaces. What’s not to like?
As I wrote last year, “... if we had more plant bombs and less bad boy bombs we'd have both fewer dead and maimed and fewer hungry. The prescient thing about this type of guerrilla urban gardening is that it may be a great model to feed thousands and create one type of sustainable community amidst the urban wastelands of Earth."
© Copyright 2012 Robert Wilkinson