Seed bombing, or aerial reforestation, has been around for a long time. Originally, the idea of seed bombing came to be in the 1930s as a way to reforest inaccessible mountains in Honolulu that had been burned by forest fires. Seeds and saplings were packed into containers and distributed aerially over the mountains. Today, seed bombing on a large scale is still a valid concept, but it has also developed at the community and urban level.
Large-scale operations such as Jack Walters’ idea to reforest using C-130s, military tracking and targeting, and special bio-degradable metal cones containing saplings and other shrubs is still one of the best ideas for making an impact on a global scale. But that doesn’t take into consideration the urban areas that have been neglected, degraded, abused or in need of vegetation.
In the 1970s, seed bombing thrived in New York City. So dubbed “guerilla gardeners” took to making seed grenades using Christmas baubles and balloons filled with seeds, peat moss, and fertilizer. These seed bombs were thrown into areas judged to be in need by those distributing them. Because the “bombed” areas were sometimes off-limits (private or government property), seed bombing was labeled an eco-crime.
Today, seed bombs are a bit more eco-friendly than Christmas baubles and rubber balloons. They can be made by mixing seeds, compost, and peat moss with/in clay soil; a mix of recycled paper, egg boxes, and tea bags; egg shells; and biodegradable pill capsules. The idea is that the seeds be given a rich base from which to start and therefore able to take root with minimal effort from the guerilla gardener.
Seed bombing is certainly a noble effort; but it’s important to recognize that if it is being done on private or government land, it’s illegal. That means those found guilty could face jail time, be sued, or be forcefully ejected from the land for trespassing.