All photos courtesy of Guerilla Gardners
Guerrilla Gardeners is at it again this time with the creation and distribution of seed bombs, a.k.a. seed balls, a.k.a. seed grenades (named so for true renegades). The rise of culture jamming continues in many urban areas not only as a protest to brands, ads, billboards, and corporations, but also as an environmental statement. As we noted before about guerilla gardening, it’s a growing movement that’s taking cities by storm one plant at a time.
In this story, we take a look at GG’s latest culture jamming project through seed bombs. Guerilla Gardeners are a Florence-based duo (which is why their blog has an “.it” at the end of it) that come up with some extraordinary ways to plant their way to freedom. Their ideas can be so good that unfortunately advertisers are actually catching on and taking note -sucking out the very guerilla-ness these original thinkers have created in an effort to gain street cred that resonates with today’s DIY generation.
They don%uFFFDt use plastic anymore but a biodegradable paper, FYI.
A brief history of the seed bomb from the GG blog who quoted fellow environmental culture jammers “Path to Freedom” illustrates the renegade attitude that keeps this movement growing (no pun intended): “Seed balls are scattered directly on the ground, not planted. Self-sufficiency and sustainability website Path To Freedom says seed balls are useful for seeding dry, thin and compacted soils and for reclaiming derelict ground (which is why they are often used in guerilla gardening). Seed balls are particularly useful in dry and arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable. You can “sow” your seed balls on a sunny day %u2013 and just leave them. When sufficient rain has permeated the clay, the seeds inside sprout and are aided by the nutrients and beneficial soil microbes surrounding them.
In fact, the seed ball method has been working for centuries. It seems that North American First Nations’ tribes used seed balls. More recently natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka has experimented with them. And in New York City, seed bombs were used in 1973’s revitalization of the Bowery neighborhood and the development of the city’s first community garden.”
Various creations from their GG workshop on seed bombs.
The GG guys not only blog about such things, but they even hold seed bomb-making workshops and have a plan for creating biodegradable mini hot air balloons and using Google maps to drop specific flower seed balls around cities. They also have an online store (to buy your own packet of seed bombs as lovely Christmas presents) and of course, their own merch with a Guerilla Gardening green T-shirt.
Like Guerilla Gardening and Path of Freedom, another guerrilla gardening group called Green Guerillas in New York City have created a fact sheet for how to make “Two Seed Grenade Recipes or How to Hide Illegal Dumping Space” using small balloons and/or old glass Christmas tree ornaments.
Overall, environmental culture jamming is a movement that’s clearly taking root around the world. And with seed bombs, you, too, can be a guerilla and stick it to the dead space by sprouting your own little protest garden.
Seed candy also works. Just huck it and the paper eventually biodegrades, adding nutrients to the little packet of seeds, and the “candy” grows. Great for Halloween trick or treaters.