'Guerrilla Gardeners' Taking Over Neglected Public Places

<p>Vacant lots and underutilized dirt patches are the the romping grounds of a new breed of activists. Known as "guerrilla gardeners", groups of people all over the world are reclaiming their cities' public spaces and landscapes by planting seeds.</p>
April 27, 2008, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"I do not wait for permission to become a gardener but dig wherever I see horticultural potential. I do not just tend existing gardens but create them from neglected space. I, and thousands of people like me, step out from home to garden land we do not own. We see opportunities all around us. Vacant lots flourish as urban oases, roadside verges dazzle with flowers and crops are harvested from land that was assumed to be fruitless. The attacks are happening all around us and on every scale - from surreptitious solo missions to spectacular campaigns by organised and politically charged cells."

"This is guerrilla gardening."

"The plants survived the next few uncertain days and I picked up a little gossip that the improvement had been noticed by residents. Most assumed the council had finally got round to doing something. I was not yet confident enough to out myself to the neighbours. I preferred to remain undercover and continue my gardening uninterrupted."

"Yet it was all too much fun to keep secret. I was happily entertaining friends with my exploits, and chose to spread the word further by blogging about it. I did not give much thought to the name when I set up the site, but GuerrillaGardening.org seemed to sum it up, and for a while I even thought I had invented the term. Weeks later, as I surfed around to see how my site was performing in search engines, I was amazed to discover all sorts of references to guerrilla gardening. There were guerrillas all over the place! As they shared their stories with me, I realised that I was part of something much bigger."

"I'll identify the guerrillas here by the "troop numbers" they were given when they signed up at GuerrillaGardening.org."

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Published on Friday, April 25, 2008 in The Guardian
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