Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of nonviolent direct action done by Greens (environmental protestors). Activists take over an abandoned piece of land which they don't own to grow crops or plants. The practices are non- violent, unlike guerrilla warfare that can cause bloodshed. Guerrilla gardeners believe in reclaiming land from neglect or misuse and assigning a new purpose for it.
Guerrilla gardeners will sometimes carry out their actions late at night geared up with gardening gloves, watering cans, compost, seeds and plants. They plant and sow a new vegetable patch or flowering garden. Others will work more openly, actively seeking to engage with members of the local community, as illustrated in the examples below.
"Pure Genius!!"[edit | edit source]
One high profile example of Guerrilla Gardening took place in May 1996, when around 500 The Land is Ours activists, including the journalist George Monbiot, occupied 13 acres of derelict land belonging to the Guinness company on the banks of the River Thames in Wandsworth, south London, in order to highlight what they described as "the appalling misuse of urban land, the lack of provision of affordable housing and the deterioration of the urban environment".
Mayday 2000[edit | edit source]
On Mayday 2000, Reclaim the Streets organised a mass Guerrilla Gardening action in Parliament Square, London. After a carnivalesque procession with samba band, and Critical Mass bike ride from Hyde Park, thousands of Guerrilla Gardeners occupied the square and planted vegetables and flowers. A maypole was errected around which many of the gardeners danced. Banners hung in the square read; 'Resistance is Fertile', 'Let London Sprout', 'Capitalism is Pants', and 'The Earth is a Common Treasury for All,' the latter being a quote from the seventeenth century Digger Gerrard Winstanley. An Indymedia public access terminal was set up in the new allotment, and the statue of Winston Churchill was given a green turf mohican.
Leaf Street Community Garden[edit | edit source]
Leaf Street is an acre of land in Hulme, Manchester that was once an urban street until turfed over by Manchester City Council. Local people, facilitated by Manchester Permaculture Group, took direct action in turning the site into a thriving community garden .
A Long History[edit | edit source]
Guerrilla gardening has a long history. In Northern Utah apple trees commonly grow along the banks of canals. Asparagras grows along the smaller ditch banks. Many of these plants were seeded 150 years ago by the workers who dug the canals, by burying lunch's apple core in the freshly dug soil, or by surreptitiously spreading seeds along a new ditchbank. Guerrilla gardening continues today as individuals secretly plant fruit trees, edible perrenials, and flowers in parks, along bike trails, etc. Some guerrilla gardeners do so for the purpose of providing food in case of emergency.
Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Lamborn, P., and Weinberg, B. (Eds.), (1999), Avant Gardening: Ecological Struggle in The City and The World. Autonomedia. ISBN 1570270929
See also[edit | edit source]
- Diggers (True Levellers)
- Reclaim the Streets
- Hakim Bey, political writer, poet, and self-described "anarchist ontologist": Temporary Autonomous Zone and Pirate Utopia
[edit | edit source]
- Guerrilla Gardening in London
- Primal Seeds on Guerilla Gardening (based in London)
- Reflections on Guerilla Gardening and Allotmenteering
- 'Pure Genius' land squat, Wandsworth, London, 1996
- Leaf Street Community Garden
- Toronto Guerilla Gardening - Organized by the Toronto Public Space Committee
- London Mayday 2000 pages on Urban 75
- Guerrilla Gardening action in Manchester, March 2006
- socalguerrillagardening.org 20+ years of Guerrilla Gardening in Southern California.
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