Community gardens are popping up all over the world, with several organizations leading the charge. At a rudimentary level, urban gardens aim to provide people the opportunity to grow their own fruits and vegetables, while promoting healthier dietary choices and uniting neighborhoods through a common ground. A simple internet search can guide an eager green-thumb to hundreds of non-profits who can provide garden plots and a variety of other resources.
While the idea is a few decades old, Guerilla Gardening is beginning to make its mark in urban areas throughout the the country. Guerilla Gardening has a variety of implications, ranging from political to social and often evokes the rethinking and rezoning of land uses in a once abandoned and neglected space. Guerilla Gardening utilizes spaces not legally owned by those cultivating them, to grow food crops or plants intended to beautiful a neighborhood. The beauty of Guerilla Gardens is that they can arise virtually any space with cultivatable soil.
Spaces used by Guerilla Gardeners range in size from block long street medians to an old boot or repurposed plastic bottle. Guerilla Gardening comes with a certain level of risk and thus a degree of anonymity of planters and many do their work in the dark hours to avoid any legal implications. However, often times the spaces reclaimed by Guerilla Gardeners become protected by the city and ownership of the land is changed from private to public as seen in one of the first known Guerilla Gardens in the Bowery Houston Area of New York.
More than evoking the reassessment of land uses, Guerilla Gardening inspires us to think outside the box, or rather, outside the yard, at all the spaces that can be used to bring more green into the concrete jungle. A base of a tree doesn’t have to be barren with dirt and that urban stairwell doesn’t have to be a haven for garbage and graffiti. Guerilla Gardening brings light and life into urban areas and motivates us to take ownership of our city, bringing people together in an effort to beautify and inspire and makes people rethink what can be done with even the smallest urban space.