How Guerilla Gardening is Re-Greening and Rewilding Cities Worldwide

Fighting with flowers and food plants has become a worldwide phenomenon that makes re-greening and rewilding urban spaces fun and accessible, and is a practical way for everyday people to get involved with regeneration and planet health.

How it started

When Richard Reynolds planted a flower on a tiny neglected flower bed in the UK in the middle of the night, he never expected this act to spur a worldwide rewilding movement. Having moved from the countryside to London, Richard was frustrated by the lack of upkeep of local flowerbeds, which were meant to be maintained by local authorities.

So, he took matters into his own hands, and started planting in neglected soil around his neighbourhood.

Cut to a few years later, and hundreds of people in London are helping to rewild local flower beds, and Guerilla Gardening has become a worldwide movement.

Similar movements have existed on a smaller scale for decades. For example, in New York City in the ‘60s, Hattie Carthan started the Tree Corps to save trees and re-tree the Bed-Stuy neighbourhood, and in the ‘70s Liz Christy started the Green Guerillas who “Seed Bombed” neglected neighbourhoods so that beautiful pollinator-friendly flowers would grow again and so residents could use the plots of land to grow food. VOX

How it’s going

Guerilla Gardening has become a global rewilding and urban greening movement, with participants joining from the UK, Denmark, Canada, the United States, Uruguay and many other countries worldwide.

Videos of people seed bombing and tending neglected public land have amassed millions of views online and inspired others to take up the practice as well. Creators post videos with tips for how to choose an appropriate piece of land (no private property) and how to make sure the seeds will do good for the local ecosystem (choose non-invasive, native plants), and commenters often join in with recommendations for how to find free native seeds or how to research the right seeds to buy.

Some people have even started websites dedicated to helping people discover non-invasive and native plant species in their area (which is extremely important when planting safely and regeneratively), and have found new ways to make Guerilla Gardening fast and fun, like by rollerblading and skateboarding around their city to scatter seeds.

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” ― Bill Mollison

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