Seed Bombs, Autonomous Gardens & You
How you can, as an individual, make an impact in your community by being based AF and planting seeds in public.
If you are American you are all too familiar with the capitalist hellscapes that dot the cities, suburbs, industrial areas, and strip malls around us. Empty lots where old homes used to stand but now are empty reminders of a forgotten past. Empty public parks where no one walks because walking is weird and dangerous in a car-centered culture and country. Strip malls with nothing but corporate chains, little dead patches of foliage in the curbs of the parking lots. They for some reason have irrigation but nothing grows there. Large data centers and warehouses surrounded by nothing but open land. Overgrown grass in empty lots in neighborhoods that are complete food deserts, where people don’t have access to fresh and cheap vegetables.
Change that. Get some seeds, some soil, and a binder to keep it all in a neat ball and start growing vegetables, pollinators, native plants, ornamentals, healing herbs, really anything!
Change food deserts into food forests with very little cost and effort.
What is a seed bomb?
A seed bomb is basically just a bunch of seeds rolled into balls that you can toss, throw or drop into a place where the plants can grow. This can be anywhere really. You pass by empty places pretty often, these can be fields, parks, empty home lots, or the little spaces in parking lots with a patch of dirt.
Normally you take soil, clay, and seeds and roll them into a ball but you can use any organic binder to keep it all together.
Most traditional mixes use 1 cup of seeds with 5 cups of compost and 2-3 cups of clay powder. If you have clay powder that is cool. I live in Texas so I just need to go into my backyard to find clay. You don’t have to use clay, any binder will work really.
Making seed bombs with flour!
Seeds, Seeds, Seeds.
Get whatever seeds you can. For this, I am using vegetable seeds but use whatever you want to grow. Sometimes it’s nice to grow some pollinators to make a space prettier, maybe some medicinal herbs if you live in an area where herbalism is ingrained in cultural practices. You can’t go wrong with veggies, everyone can eat them and they are useful for those who can’t afford to buy veggies from a grocery store or don’t have access to fresh veggies.
Lettuce and okra grow really well where I am. You will need to look up some veggies that grow in your area and when they should be planted. Or you can just not care and see what happens, life is full of experiments.
Roll your seeds into the binder + soil / compost mixture with some water, roll them into a ball, and let them dry.
Now you are ready to start growing. I went to my local neighborhood park and saw that the city installed irrigation near young oak saplings. This solves every problem that could arise. There is ample water during tough Texas summers from the irrigation and rain runoff from a slight hill. Protection from mowing due to there being supports holding up the young trees and some afternoon shade from the small tree as well. You may not find an opportune place like this but nature finds a way, try it anyways.
History of seed bombs
From what we can see historically this practice seems to come from Japan where it is called Tsuchi Dango or ‘Earth Dumpling’. In the 1930’s Masanobu Fukuoka wrote his book called “The One Straw Revolution” which revived the practice during a time of agricultural change. If you are interested in regenerative agriculture, he wrote a lot of stuff on it and many popular gardeners follow the techniques he employed.
“Why do this? Just buy food in a grocery store.”
Not everyone under capitalism can afford fresh food.
Let that sink in. We live in some of the richest countries in the history of our planet and yet large populations of people do not have ready access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
In many places there are no stores to even buy real food from. In many inner-city, urban, and rural areas the only option is fast food, lugging groceries on a bad public transit system, or driving far to a supermarket (if you are lucky enough to have a car).
Autonomy is freedom
In order to change society from this individualist, highly atomized, racist, and exploitative capitalist system we live in we have to build autonomy. We have to be able to survive without state intervention (if the state even chooses to help). We cannot rely on normal supply chains for our basic needs, Covid-19 really showed us how supply lines can quickly collapse during a catastrophe. If capitalist states will not address poverty, hunger, food scarcity, and food deserts, the people will have to come together and meet our needs. Without the arbitrary barriers, without the qualification guidelines or the red tape. If you need food you get food. If a community does not have access to fresh food, we grow it. By doing this we collectively build strength. No state, government, politician, or force can break a group of people working together to actually solve problems.
How to start a decentralized garden
If you are interested in these ideas this is called dual power. Building autonomous networks to solve issues involving food, water, education, wealth, poverty, houselessness falls under the umbrella term of mutual aid. You may not consider yourself a “leftist”, but if you want true freedom from exploitation and want to end human suffering you might be one.
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