🌱 GUERRILLA GARDENING- GROWING FOR THE COMMON GOOD! 🌱
WRITTEN BY: Zach Champ
Cover Photo Courtesy Via Unsplash.com (Photo By Imre Tomosvari)
WHAT IS GUERRILLA GARDENING?
Guerrilla Gardening is essentially the use of land that is not owned by you, for the purpose of agricultural gain. This concept originally was associated with individuals that would illegally grow cannabis on public and private lands, but it has since been expanded to include any type of plant. It is a powerful technique that can reap many rewards. Guerrilla Gardening is a form of geomancy and should be considered with great respect and understanding. It can be a legal affair or an illegal act, depending on the circumstances and location. In general, guerrilla gardening is a way to empower yourself with access to resources that you may not normally be able to acquire. Because of all these aforementioned reasons, guerrilla gardening is a form of political action available to all peoples.
Photo Courtesy Via Unsplash.com (Photo By Benjamin Combs)
WHY SHOULD I UTILIZE GUERRILLA GARDENING?
Are you hungry, or do you not have enough money each month to provide you food? Then grow your own food! Gardening is one of the most powerful skills a person can learn and will provide you with a bountiful harvest season after season. If you own a house or rent a house with a decent amount of land then you should definitely consider gardening. Especially if you are living at a residence longer than one year at a time! If you have a landlord that’s picky about it, there are ways to create plots or grow a variety of vegetables without ‘damaging’ the land, such as elevated plots or planters. If you live in an apartment in the city where you have windows with good sun for most of the day, then you can easily grow some variety of house plants with medicinal and edible use.
Even if you find you have no land to efficiently garden, try guerrilla gardening! Let’s say you have a field across the street from your house... you could easily go there and establish a plot and transplant some seedlings and let it be. Most of the time you get regular rainfall through a season, and your plants will take care of themselves. In the worst case scenario that they don't, you then visit every so often and water them. When establishing your plots consider visibility factors, and if you need to just spread plants one or two at a time in random areas throughout a certain location. Grow vegetables that can feed you and sustain you with all the vitamins and nutrients such as spinach, tomato, squash, corn, beans, peas, carrots, and even some fruits like berries, watermelon, and strawberries. The possibilities are literally endless!
In fact, the ability of guerrilla gardeners to grow traditional staple food crops in pretty much any environment has helped bring more interest in the subject of Urban Farming. When most people think of farming, they think of the country and acres of land with cows and other livestock hanging out. Urban farming, however, is the opposite of traditional farming- it is the growing of crops and the raising of livestock within the city!
Photo Courtesy via USDA "Vertical Farming For the Future" Article
What if we told you though that you could take the same amount of food grown on a traditional farm and grow it vertically in a skyscraper? Innovations like this are making urban farming techniques a serious strategy being used by communities to address local food production and transportation costs. Urban farming is also helping close the gap between the urban citizen and nature, allowing them a chance to get their hands in the dirt, literally!
HOW CAN I GUERRILLA GARDEN?
Many different types of plants can be grown discreetly in abandoned fields, or on the edge of the woods, you just have to assess and look for areas with good sunlight, some shade, and good soil. Most areas with tall grass and weeds growing out of it will make perfect spots to try and experiment! Even if the soil is less than desirable you can take the further steps of adding and mixing your own soil into the transplant locations to improve it. You have to be opportunistic and aware of your environment to properly employ guerrilla gardening tactics. As a guerrilla gardener, your main skill to focus on developing is a good sense of which plant is perfect for a specific situation and how to help create the conditions for that plant’s growth there! The goal with guerrilla gardening is to just be clever, so no one sees you in the act. The plant should just ‘magically’ and suddenly appear in the location without any warning.
HOW DO YOU GET AWAY WITH GUERRILLA GARDENING?
Guerrilla gardening can have risks associated with it. If you are gardening on land that you don’t have permission to be on, you can face trespassing or other legal charges. This can result in fines and even jail time! That’s why guerrilla gardeners need to be smart in their decisions to transplant and place certain crops in specific locations.
Photo Courtesy Via Unsplash.com (Photo By Niu Niu)
A cunning method for spreading plants is the Seed Bomb. A seed bomb is a piece of soil and dirt pressed together into a small mud ball with the seeds embedded in the middle of the bomb. You create hundreds of these seed bombs by hand, placing a pinch of seeds in each one, and press them together with your fingers. When you have a bunch of these you just walk around tossing them around your area of interest. The ball will hit the target and explore, spreading the soil, dirt, and seeds! This can be an effective way to spread certain plants!
Infographic Courtesy Via Pinterest
Another neat guerrilla gardening trick is to create Moss Graffiti. In order to make moss graffiti, you need to take chunks of moss and place it in a blender with yogurt, water, and sugar. Blend all the ingredients until it is a nice liquid consistency like paint. Take this liquid and pour it into a bottle. To use the mixture just dip a brush and paint the wall. Wait a few days and Moss will grow from where the mixture was applied!
Photo Courtesy Via Pinterest
Sometimes the guerrilla gardener may have to use social engineering techniques to achieve their objective. This can include diversion, persuasion, and disguise tactics. Consider the fact that most people wouldn’t question if they saw a random person working in a field dressed in work clothes and an orange safety vest. Due to the sneaky and illegal nature of guerrilla gardening, an individual participating in these activities just needs to realize that they inherently carry risks with them.
WHERE DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT GUERRILLA GARDENING?
Check out this article on Food Revolution.org about how Guerrilla Gardening is making an impact as a political statement!
Want to read more about Guerrilla Gardening and how to make seed bombs? This article on Nature’s Path is a great resource!