Well, there goes the neighborhood …
The overgrown weeds and uncut lawns of abandoned or neglected plots of land that have long been allowed to grow freely within some communities are now targets of a growing trend of green warfare called “guerilla gardening.”
The trending regimes of community members rallying together, armed with trowels, well if they are successful, it surely means the demise of community blight.
And that’s a good thing!
Green Campaign With an Attitude
As Anette’s Garden explains, the idea behind guerilla gardening is to beautify small, unsightly areas, be it in your backyard, around the garage or even in public places. Greening public spots, however, can ruffle a few feathers, mostly those of city councilmen or police, as it did in Shaw, a small town in Washington, D.C., where police pointed out gardening without permission are considered unlawful entry, which can be a misdemeanor as the Washington Post reported. But that’s why it’s called guerilla gardening, isn’t it?
These rogue groups aren’t only bold in their actions to fight blight, but they’re also getting quite creative in their “weaponry.”
Guerilla Gardening.com shows off a neat arsenal of Kabloom “SeedBoms,” that look like actual grenades, explosive eggs and seed balloons, which float seeds in the air in biodegradable balloons that can travel long distances to spread.
Some groups like the ones found in Littleton, Mass. and Mount Vernon, Wash., do “flash mob planting” drills, though with less synchronized dancing and music. These gatherings not only strengthen community bonds but most times local businesses, and even local city officials, are quite grateful for these quick spruce-ups that may not be on anyone’s priority list.
Even though, guerilla gardening is technically illegal, people like Ron Finley are proving group projects like this can help those living in poorer, rougher communities, like South Central L.A., to bond together for a greater good. But it also promotes healthier living, teaching younger people the technique of being self-sustainable and preferring homegrown food rather than fast food joints.
Industries like Honda are also getting into the business of encouraging people to garden.
The Japanese-based company took a more creative angle on promoting its lawn and garden equipment by sending out promotional letters. These letters weren’t the typical “junk mail” people often receive, however, Honda had no problem if people ditched them. In fact, the company encouraged it in the letter. Packed with flower seeds, the letter is 100 percent recyclable and ready for planting. How much more stylish can a company be to promote gardening than that.
Solo Guerilla Gardening
Li Tingbang is a perfect example of being a solo guerilla of gardening. The 78-year-old from China who now lives in Harlem, New York, picked a plot near a playground and bus depot riddled with blight. Now it grows beans, Chinese vegetables and plants popular in Chinese medicine.
Getting involved in guerilla gardening, be it solo or creating an army, takes only a few steps, according to WebEcoist. One intriguing point the website makes are making sure your guerilla gardening posse consists of recruiting at least one woman. This, according to the website, excuses you of any animalistic perversion a group of guys digging in dirt would conjure up within a community.
No matter where you start though, keep in mind that if you choose to improve for the greater good of the community, be it against anyone’s wishes or for the support of the community, Divine Caroline said it best that ultimately guerilla gardening sparks conversation, which sparks movements and can strengthen communities through blight control and community interaction. The bottom line, people are talking, and unsightly spots are improving.
- Guerrilla Gardening and why I might be gardening your Garden. I’m genuinely not even trying to place a pun here. (dustyfeetphilosophy.wordpress.com)
- Guerilla Gardening (thegardendiaries.wordpress.com)
- TED TALKS: LA’s Guerilla Gardener (samandellas.wordpress.com)