The popularity of guerrilla gardening is growing. National Public Radio recently covered two stories on the subject, one on American seed bombing and another on night-time planting in London. We’ve covered guerrilla gardening at Worldchanging before (as well as the related topic of public food foraging and mapping), so we thought you might be interested to know about a new guerrilla gardening tool: tech savvy seed bombs that use biodegradable casings and are available at Etsy shops, ice cream trucks, grocery stores, and even vending machines!
Common Studio founders Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud have given new life to Karlsrud’s father’s old gumball machines and turned them into seed bomb dispensaries in a project they call Greenaid. For a quarter and a turn, the Greenaid vending machines dispense seed bombs made up of clay, compost and seeds to guerrilla gardeners in California, Minnesota, Illinois, and North Carolina. Common Studio’s aims for Greenaid are to build:
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.
So far, Greenaid has had the most success in Los Angeles where Philips and Karlsrud were featured in a local TV news story, and the L.A. Times even published a six-step slide show of instructions on how to make a seed bomb like the one found in their gumball machines. Additionally, if you need some help deciding where to throw your seed bomb in L.A., a map of the best places to deposit them is included on the small seed packets that hang at the bottom of each gumball machines.
(Image via Greenaid Project Homepage)
Other methods to disperse seeds to unused spaces are seed balloons, seed pills, and explosive eggs. On design team has even imagined seed capsules dropped by bomber aircraft as a way to combat deforestation and desertification. Next? Flower grenades (not to be confused with bomb detecting flowers!). Pick your method of seed bombing, and go out there and have fun activating you cities’ neglected lots and cracks!
Mission Seed Bomb rendering by Hwang Jin wook, Jeon You ho, Han Kuk il and Kim Ji myung (via)
Top image of seed bomb via Greenaid.
This is wonderful. My wife and I have spent 4 summers piecing together a hike of the Continental Divide Trail. We noticed a lot of forest die-off along most of the trail. It seemed like 50% of the stands were 90% dead or 90% of the stands were 50% dead. I used to plant trees (reforestation) in the Northwest, so I've been trying to figure out a way to rapidly and cheaply move forest flora poleward (especially in drier regions, like the Rocky Mtns.) Seedbombs will be a useful tool.
Wow, there is a true market for this. I live in northern Canada where company as damaged most of our forest. Lots of work to do!
This is NOT great. Who is deciding which seeds get deposited where? Has no one heard of invasive species?? This is a HORRIBLE idea. Random people buying random seed mixes and depositing them willy nilly. If people want to make the world greener they should be combating invasive species, not spreading them around.
Relax, Ellen. ''seed bombs with local varietals categorized by geographic regions''
Categorized by geographic regions how? Can you guarantee that only native, noninvasive species are being "bombed" in the correct areas? Are they set up for specific micro climates? Do they consider fragile desert ecosystems? And by the way, Ellen is a botanist. She knows what she's talking about. She has to deal with the irresponsibility and ignorance of folks who plant invasive species.
Who controls which seeds for which regions? The thought of people going out and seeding any area they feel like is a recipe for disaster. If you want to "guerrilla garden," chose one spot and tend it with your plants. Having anyone go out and plant seeds anywhere as a "movement" is a really, really bad idea.
Living in the Northern Rockies, I have witnessed the devastation of invasive plant species brought in accidentally in the bedding of pioneer families to the area.
The idea of seed bombs to involve the community in beautification, etc. has merit but the practicality of monitoring where the "bombs" are planted could potentially be a real nightmare for protecting native species habitat.
From my personal experience in horticulture and living in an agricultural area - this sounds cool on the surface but thinking it through this could have "explosive" unintended repercussions.