Sprout Guerrilla: Growing Graffiti and Greening the City.
Last weekend at Beyond Green, I attended a workshop by Julie Forand from Sprout Guerrilla. Sprout Guerrilla has launched a unique campaign that involves an element of guerrilla gardening. The “I ♥ my city” campaign utilizes moss in public places to bring art and nature to the streets. Sprout Guerrilla has created “moss kits” that you can use to create your own moss graffiti. The campaign serves to promote urban gardening, improve the aesthetic appeal of city walls and contribute to better air quality. The use of moss is a useful solution to improving many conditions within the city. Moss essentially eats smog by feeding on the fine particles within the air. By creating moss graffiti within our city we would be cleaning our air while beautifying our city. We can change the aesthetic and environmental make-up of infrastructure with small, yet meaningful, acts of “guerrilla gardening.”
Guerrilla gardening involves using public spaces to display an artistic statement. The statement often supports bringing nature back into the cityscape and greening the urban environment. At the workshop I attended by Sprout Guerrilla we were able to brainstorm some insightful guerrilla gardening techniques. As a group we considered the structure of our city and how we can integrate nature into it. We suggested removing man-made materials and replacing them with natural elements. For example, instead of using fences to separate property we could use trees. In addition, we considered the need to bring nature into school infrastructures. As a commitment to greening schools, students at the workshop pledged to advocate a green roof at their own school. A green roof on a school could provide food, a place for relaxation, and a space for learning. By implementing something like this it could transform the way we perceive buildings.
As an activist it can be difficult to find new and effective ways to gain public attention. A large challenge to gathering support is finding a way to perforate people’s daily routines; however, by making slight changes to the “beaten path” one can generate a yearning for change. Living in an urban area often involves being surrounded by brick and concrete infrastructure. Society uses these materials not because they look appealing but because they provide a stable place to live and work. Our urban centres represent a rigid design that frequently excludes elements of nature. Although many urban areas do lack elements of nature there are efforts to integrate nature into our infrastructure. Guerrilla gardeners place flowers and plants in obscure places to highlight the absence of them. Artist Pete Dungey transforms potholes in roads into living, colourful, eco-messages. Take a look at the image below. Dungey’s guerilla gardening has the potential to reach many people: drivers, passers-by, city workers, and so on. A small splash of colour in the street will surely raise a response. Becoming a guerrilla gardener is an effective way to make a statement in your community. A campaign like Sprout Guerrilla’s is an accessible and fun way to create this type of change.
The moss graffiti campaign by Sprout Guerrilla seeks to replace spray paint and toxic chemicals with a moss “paint” that can be customized to whatever design you want. The mixture is made from moss and all natural ingredients, like powdered buttermilk, which helps the moss grow- just add water and paint away!. You can take a closer look at the “I ♥ my city” campaign and how you can get involved here. If you want to learn more about Sprout Guerrilla check out their website here. Become a guerrilla gardener and help bring nature back to into the city. We are excited to have met our new friends at Sprout Guerrilla and hope to see some moss graffiti around our cities!
Pete Dungey image from: http://inhabitat.com/artist-pete-dungey-turns-potholes-into-guerrilla-gardens/
Image from: http://lequaintrelle.blogspot.ca/2012/02/moss-graffiti.html
Personal notes from Sprout Guerrilla workshop