The national alert is high, code level…green. Whether we notice it or not, a group of eco-terre-orists are waging a quiet war against neglect and scarcity of public space. From London to Berlin, Miami to San Francisco and Southern California, a new breed of free range tillers are harnessing their inner flower (and fruit and veggie) power, sewing seeds for a greener tomorrow. They hope that their hard (and surreptitious) work will help transform derelict soil and abandoned lots into floral and food outposts.
Their weapon of choice? The seed ball. Made from clay and compost mixed with seeds, these little life mines are tossed into neglected patches of urban landscape in the hopes that they will take root and explode with green over time.
Guerilla gardeners communicate and track their work via blogs like Guerilla Gardening. Regional chapters like Los Angeles Guerilla Gardening are popping up, serving as resource to help coordinate eco-terre-orism efforts. If one is considering joining the eco-crusade but can’t find a local chapter, there are guidebooks on how to prepare for seed bombing campaigns. Some guerilla gardeners are transforming mild civil disobedience into a new form of public art, like Toronto’s Posterchild, who made an old flyer box into a perky and poignant urban marigold garden. Some groups have formal names, likeTree-0-5 in Miami, and take credit for their work as they continue to explore creative ways to spruce up their cities. Others move under cover of darkness and prefer to remain anonymous.
By day they lead normal lives. By night (or weekend), they don their secret identities and deploy throughout the world’s cities, seed bombing, watering, and fertilizing. It’s certainly not a crime to transform wasteland to green space, but if labeling urban gardening a guerilla enterprise helps make more people want to do plant seeds, than all the better. It sounds more powerful anyhow to say that one is a guerilla, not just an activist.