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YES! Picks: Dispensing Seed Bombs

Seed bombs are a favorite tool of guerrilla gardeners for planting flowers on derelict ground.
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Seed Bombs from Greenaid

Seed bombs are a favorite tool of guerrilla gardeners for planting flowers on derelict ground. The simplest seed bombs are made of compostable paper, the most ingenious from a hollow eggshell, while a mixture of compost and clay gives weight for a long-distance throw.

The seed bomb idea was taken up by designers Daniel Phillips and Kim ­Karlsrud, who customize vending machines to distribute seed bombs instead of gumballs, for 50 cents.

“We really like the idea that seed bombing, while appealing perhaps to our desires to be bad and illicit, actually has the positive result of ecological restoration,” says Phillips.

The duo’s “Greenaid” seed-bomb vending machines are used to promote public awareness and raise funds by organizations like Project H Design, a nonprofit that runs an education and design project in a high school in Bertie County, N.C. Director Emily ­Pilloton says they used the vending machines to start discussions about small-scale, local alternatives to large-scale issues.

“Particularly for kids, the vending machines are great conversation starters,” she says. “First, people want to know what it is, and then the lightbulb goes off, and it opens up a whole new world of conversation about why it is important to support green spaces and how we can all play a part.”

Greenaid supplies localized wildflower seed bombs for the vending machines. Three machines recently placed in Monterrey, Mexico, offer seeds recommended by local experts, including species that were once prevalent in the area—butterfly weed, Mexican hat plant, and cowpen daisy.

Cascadian Edible Landscaping in Seattle is developing their own version of a seed bomb vending machine, offering seeds for salad greens and edible flowers to encourage interest in growing food close to home. The proceeds will go to the Just Garden Project, a nonprofit that establishes edible gardens for low-income families. 

Caitlin BattersbyCaitlin Battersby wrote this article for Can Animals Save Us?, the Spring 2011 issue of YES! Magazine. Caitlin is an editorial intern at YES!


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