Recently, I joined the advisory council for my work’s effort to put together a community garden (because apparently, I just don’t know how to enjoy my own free time). I’m really excited about this opportunity, though, because the possible community garden has such potential for improving the lives of our clients. Everything from access to fresh produce and supplementing the family’s diet to providing a place for people to garden, a community garden is an asset to all those who participate in it.
By becoming involved in the effort to establish a community garden through my work, I’ve learned quite a bit about gardening in all its forms, including its more subversive. I was introduced to the concept of guerrilla gardening by some of my co-workers, and while my nonprofit is not intending this approach in claiming land for our clients, many of my coworkers are motivated to improve society in any way they can.
Guerrilla Gardening is defined and described on Wikipedia as:
Guerrilla gardening is gardening on another person’s land without permission. It encompasses a very diverse range of people and motivations, from the enthusiastic gardener who spills over their legal boundaries to the highly political gardener who seeks to provoke change through direct action. It has implications for land rights, land reform. The land that is guerrilla gardened is usually abandoned or neglected by its legal owner and the guerrilla gardeners take it over (“squat”) to grow plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Some garden at more visible hours to be seen by their community. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism.
All of this relates to Steampunk because I personally believe Steampunk is political and the spirit of Talk Like a Pirate Day hasn’t quite worn off yet (It never does! :D). Guerrilla Gardening is all about reclaiming and beautifying the land around us by planting vegetation in unused land. To me, Guerrilla Gardening is an extension of our commitment to our green practices. Why just stop at repurposing clothing and trinkets when we can reclaim unused land?
There’s a number of ways to go about Guerrilla Gardening, but one must always keep in mind that the cultivation of land that does not belong to you is generally illegal. As a result, most Guerrilla Gardening occurs at night. For those who cannot dedicate evenings to gardening, or for land that is under survellience, the best and quickest way to go about your activities is by “seed bombing,” which litterally involves throwing clods of clay stuffed with seeds into disused land. Here’s a video on how to make them:
You can put any sort of seed into you seed bomb, so be creative and do battle against the urban wasteland.
For more information on Guerrilla Gardening, different methods of seed bombing, or to join a local cell of Guerrilla Gardeners, visit the official Guerrilla Gardening website here.