In the spirit of pro-activism and guerilla gardening (gardening without permission), seed bombs are usually thrown into vacant, blighted lots under the cover of night, but with their growing popularity perhaps folks will start tossing them around on their morning walk with the dog. Seed bombs have traditionally been made with rich soil, a few seeds that don’t need to much help to grow, and some sort of compostable outer shell such as clay or newspaper. They are used as change agents to revitalize abandoned, unloved urban areas that might benefit from some greenery. You simply soak the bomb in water to activate the seeds inside, chuck it into a lot that needs some TLC, let the casing biodegrade, and watch the plant grow.
One business seized the opportunity to capitalize on seed bombs’ rising status and started Seedbom, a Scotland company. Their mantra is “War on terra. Seedboms are friendly bombs exploding with flower power. For responsible rebels in the war against weary wastelands. Join forces with nature in the fight to transform lifeless spaces!” The outer shell is comprised of locally reclaimed and recycled materials including egg cartons and post consumer paper. Each Seedbom holds inside it organic peat free compost, organic fertilizer, and a choice of four different seed varieties native to the UK – Sunflower Incredible, Nasturtium Peach Melba, a Cornfield Annual Mix and Wildflower Mix.
Seedboms cost £9.95 for a four pack and are currently only sold in the UK. While some critiques such as this Treehugger post suggest that charging money goes against the seed bomb’s DIY origins, at the very least, the emergence of this product can be seen as a sign that urban gardening is a growing movement that appears to no longer be a trend, but rather something here to stay. So if people choose to spend the cash in order to be able to throw a seed bomb into an otherwise neglected lot, that means less rubble and more flowers. The company is an active member of the Glasgow Guerrilla Gardening group and was a 2010 Scottish Green List winner awarded by the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum.
Seedbom gives recognition on their website to guerilla gardening’s beginnings and credit to the roots of the seed bomb. They shout out to One-Straw Revolution author, soil scientist and organic farmer Masanobu Fukuoka who reintroduced this phenomenon in the 20th century when he incorporated Tsuchi Dango or Earth Dumplings into his natural farming practices and quote Fukuoka as saying, “If we throw Mother Nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork.” Seedbom also tips their hat to Liz Christy, who started the Green Guerillas in 1973 and first coined the term “seed grenade,” which the group used to transform blighted lots in the Bowery Houston area of Manhattan.
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The “Urban Farming Guys” Seek to Transform Blighted Kansas City Neighborhood
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Lesley Lammers is a freelance sustainability consultant and journalist, focused on the intersection between the environment, food, social impact, human rights, health and entrepreneurship.