Friday, January 22, 2010

Guerilla Gardening for Nomads: Seed Bombs, Seed Guns, and Green Grenades

For ideal nomadic living, guerrilla gardening with planned or spontaneous seed-attacks is perfect for the gardener who owns no plot of land, has no tool shed full of fancy possessions, and moves around frequently. For the city-dweller, it can be a subversive act, sadly viewed by some authorities as illegal or trespassing. Some subcultures have carefully developed methods in which to circumvent or avoid such issues.
(image from

In certain parts of Seattle, opium poppies (papaver somniferum) grow from cracks in the sidewalks. Many people who walk or use public transportation make a habit of picking off a dried poppy pod as they pass and crack it open to spread the seeds as they walk along, shaking the pod like a salt shaker over parking islands and any exposed patch of dirt. Of course many national parks and wilderness areas have hidden plots of cannabis. Both of these plants can be useful medicinal plants (Thomas Jefferson used to keep opium poppies in his herbal medicine garden in Monticello, as they have potent painkilling properties even when just made into a tea (but um, don't do that, it's illegal). The DEA later tampered with history and dug up the original species of poppy from the display garden and replaced them with more innocuous ornamental poppies so as not to set a bad example for good Americans visiting the home. But for others who wish to harvest other hardy plants for food, beauty or general contribution to the environment, (without problems from the DEA) there are a number of methods that it can be done.

GUERRILLA GARDENERS: Pack up your ammo and attack your neglected environments - 

Got an air pistol? You can attack the matter with seed-bullets like these:

Or you can buy ready-made seedboms from Kabloom, which can be thrown into derelict land, neglected spaces and anywhere you want to make some environmental impact. Their outer casing is made from recycled materials that break down into a nice fertile compost with a bit of rain.

A great guide to a number of funky improvised environmental devices along with many tips is at:
Guerrilla Gardening Seed Bomb Guide

These are a couple prepackaged items available through Plant the Piece with some added novelty, including the more advanced version of a seed gun and some bombs that even children can play with:

For most, the most inexpensive way is to simply get our hands dirty and make your own seed-bombs from easily available materials such as clay, moss, compost and peat. Many people make a group activity of it. On the east coast there are the Green Guerillas which is a group that has been around since the 70s, gardening in the trash-strewn dereliction of New York.

On the west coast, I just got word of an event in which a bunch of people are getting together in February for a Seed Bomb (Bar) Crawl. Their guerrilla gardening mission is to ride the Metro Red Line (in L.A.) on a certain route and at every stop plant, clean and throw seed bombs as they go. The goal is to create 13 new spaces along the metro line and do it in record time - each stop 12 minutes or less. Not only that, they will be wearing evening attire (with tennis shoes) and RUNNING.

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (New York Review Books Classics)If you want some instruction on preparing seed-bombs, below is a how-to video on seed-bombing, based on ideas of based on the ideas of Masanobu Fukuoka, who has written books such as The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (New York Review Books Classics) and The Road Back to Nature: Regaining the Paradise Lost. He is an advocate of permaculture, which is essentially the manifestation of a core set of design principles, in which people design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that is  fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems.

Once I am settled a little more, I'll take before and after photos of my personal guerrilla gardening moments and we'll see what manifests. IF I get back to the same spots. Even if I don't go to the same place twice and just toss seeds while passing through, the nice thing is that it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little Green : a sustainability cocktail party : February... - Eventbrite

Don't have to bring your own bottle, but if you bring your own glassware you get a discount at the door!

Little Green : a sustainability cocktail party : February... - Eventbrite

Little Green is a spin-off of a group called Mindshare LA. It provides an opportunity to socialize, network, and learn about green initiatives in the area.

Want to know more about it? Check out this blog entry about the last Little Green event, which includes pic and some of the topics covered, including one of my favorite - guerrilla gardening.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010: urban nomadic solutions for hi-tech homelessness

I had no idea that anyone else had even coined the term "urban nomad". I started using the term to loosely describe my goals for alternative living this year. Let's just say I'll be traveling extra-light. And I will be video podcasting and filming what it is like to be homeless (or what it can be like), so stay tuned and I will soon release info on my new cyber-home and where you can peep in on me if interested in monitoring my progress and adventures.

I don't have time at the moment to describe or release my entire manifesto for this living guerrilla art project that I am in the midst of launching, and as to why I am even doing it is a whole other story. Right now my main concern is for the practical. I will no longer have any type of roof over my head, so what material or location I should choose to shelter at is the most urgent matter of business. But almost equally as important in this decision is aesthetics and the goal of maintaining professional-level communications via high-tech (but portable) system of wifi and solar or other methods of energy.

If only I could afford or get access to one of these ideal shelters from Winfried Baumann (via referral from my transhumanist colleague Alex Lightman). This is like the Ikea store of homeless furniture. Reminds me also of those pod-hotels at Japanese Airports. Either way, I desperately wish I could purchase one right away. With this economy, these might actually gain some popularity in the near future..
(love all the pictures of champagne next to the shelters - redefining the "wino" stereotype. Now that's the kind of wino I want to be.)