Seed Bombing

seed bombs

Seed bombing or aerial reforestation is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed clods of soil containing live vegetation. Often, seed bombing projects are done with arid or off-limits (for example, privately-owned) land. The term ‘seed grenade’ was first used by NY artist, Liz Christy in 1973 when she started the ‘Green Guerrillas.’ The first seed grenades were made from condoms filled with local wildflower seeds, water and fertilizer. They were tossed over fences onto empty lots in New York City in order to make the neighborhoods look better. It was the start of the guerrilla gardening movement.

The earliest records of aerial reforestation date back from 1930. In this period, planes were used to distribute seeds over certain inaccessible mountains in Honolulu after forest fires. Seed bombing is also widely used in Africa in barren or simply grassy areas. Newer seed bombs use biodegradable shells which feed the sprout as it grows. Barren land can be turned into a garden in a little over a month.  A variant of seed bombing, called tree bombing, involves dropping saplings from military aircraft, but has yet to be attempted.

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