The urban saboteur

“The grey city and its lost heart forces its way between myself and my healing”

Jeanette Winterson

Our cities are so grey and ugly. It can make for depressive living. There is nothing worse than a functional, but ugly new bridge or a ghastly new road rolling over land that was once park or pasture.  I often wonder who is making some of this stuff. Are they depressed? Why are they making our cities cold and grey – like their husbands or wives? Where is the beauty and colour in the world?

My response is the anarchistic one of the urban saboteur. I bomb the city with colour, but not graffiti. My bomb of choice is the seed bomb.

A seed bomb can be thrown on the ground anywhere. You do not need to plant them into the soil.  They will simply  germinate once the bomb becomes wet.

To make your own seed bombs, and bring some edible landscaping to your town, just get some seeds (wild flowers, chillis, spinach whatever is ready to plant) and wrap them up in red potters clay. The clay will protect the seeds from birds and as it becomes moist the seed will sprout out of the clay and root into the soil below.

It is really neat to see your beans and peas sprouting in the road reserve or amazingly in the middle of a pot hole in the sidewalk.

A few other things that you can do to naturize your city are:

  • make submissions to your city or Councillors for more green space
  • encourage your planning authority to consider design aesthetics as well as function in new infrastructure projects (there are tourism benefits for beautiful cities)
  • start and manage a community garden
  • build or maintain urban trails
  • become a friend of a stream or a reserve. Clean out the litter and replant with lovely native bush (at night when parks and gardens staff aren’t looking)
  • dig up your front lawn and plant vegetables (I really hate lawn. It is just such a waste of useful land!).

Ever since becoming an urban saboteur the image I harbour is of a group of drunken kids feasting out on one of my stealthy black boy peach trees at 1 in the morning instead of satisfying their muchies at McDonalds or KFC.  I also think people must get a kick when they notice Sliverbeet, Corn or Kale growing in the middle of the main road roundabout.

Once you seed bomb for the first time you will always be a saboteur. 

There is an urban anarchist in all of us.

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