Gumball Machines for a Greener Planet

June 2, 2010

Molly de Aguiar, Program Associate

seedball by Heavy Petal

Seed bomb by Heavy Petal

If you’re not familiar with them, seed bombs are small balls – a mixture of clay, compost and seeds – that you can toss onto an empty lot or a neglected patch of ground to help green your community. The clay and compost protect the seeds from drying out in the sun (which makes seed bombs especially useful in dry/arid areas) or getting eaten by birds. When enough rain has permeated the ball, the seeds will begin to sprout, nourished by the compost mixture.

There are several varieties and creative shapes of seed bombs (see Guerrilla Gardening’s Seed Bomb Guide for examples and instructions), and you can make them, or buy them (here and here)

But what do seed bombs have to do with gumball machines?

Greenaid by Common Studios

The duo of Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud of Common Studio created Greenaid, a project that cleverly repurposes old gumball vending machines to sell seed bombs.

Common Studios: Green Aid from ISHOTHIM on Vimeo.

You can purchase a machine (or several machines) directly from Common Studio, and they will work with you to develop a seed mix that’s appropriate for your location as well as a strategy for using the seed bomb machine effectively.

They are already in place in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles—but wouldn’t it be great to see them in Newark, Trenton, Camden and other urban locations across New Jersey?