Thursday in the City- Seed “Gum Balls”

Being a landscape designer, I have done my fair share of guerrilla gardening.  Mainly I stuck to forgotten sidewalk planter areas.  It was fun to see the “Paper whites” coming up as I walked to the bus stop.  I have always just wanted to go dump native seeds in abandoned lots.  Well, here is everyones chance to add a little color to those grey spaces. Common Studio, a social design practice, is taking gumball machines and adding “seedbombs” instead.  Here is a little bit about this project via Kickstarter.  

Made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, “seedbombs” are becoming an increasingly popular means combating the many forgotten grey spaces we encounter everyday-from sidewalk cracks to vacant lots and parking medians. They can be thrown anonymously into these derelict urban sites to temporarily reclaim and transform them into places worth looking at and caring for.

The Greenaid dispensary simply makes these guerrilla gardening efforts more accessible to all by appropriating the existing distribution system of the quarter-operated gumball machine. With a simple edict, “Change for Change”, the Greenaid initiative encourages urban dwellers of any age to become casual activists by taking part in the incremental beautification of their environment using only the loose coins in their pocket.


On their website, they have three interactive maps: locations of current dispensaries, locations of seed placement (added by the users of the seeds), suggested locations for dispensaries.  I was excited to see that there was one in San Francisco.  So, I decided to go check it out.  It was outside of Bi Rite Market in the Mission District.  Bi Rite is a perfectly packed little grocery with all sorts of local and organic goods.   I got to peruse the shelves of fresh mozzarella, Mendocino harvested sea weeds, fresh meats, and avocados larger than eggplants.  I went outside and found the little machine I was looking for.  $0.50 later, I had my small seedball and was ready to find a spot…had one in mind already…

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