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Grenades for Good: Seedbombs Renew Urban Spaces and Home Gardens

Seedbombs are grenades for good—made out of clay, compost, and seeds—they are small balls that you can throw into urban spaces and home gardens alike.

You might be more used to combining war and the environment than you think. For instance, weeding your garden might feel like waging a war on your local environment. Forcing yourself to spend five fewer minutes in the shower might feel like an assault against your much-needed luxury time, and convincing your carpool driver to turn off the engine while waiting for the next person to hop in the SUV might feel like a constant battle.

This week, we unearthed a product that combines war and the environment in a way that’s a little more productive, and a lot less guilt-ridden: seedbombs.

Seedbombs are grenades for good—made out of clay, compost, and seeds—they are small balls that you can throw into urban spaces and home gardens alike to spread green.

Kim Karlsrud and Danny Phillips, co-founders of Commonstudio, which grew out of their chapter of Project H Design, a volunteer group of community-focused designers with a pretty sweet set of mandates. Out of Commonstudio came Greenaid, their urban ecology branch responsible for the seedbombs—so there’s been plenty of growing and branching all around.

Commonstudio focuses on human and action-centered responses to social challenges. In other words, they design things that make you go “whoaaa” for impact. But seedbombs don’t qualify as a “Designed Good” product just because they came out of a design studio, they qualify because the energetic designers behind them thought about how both the product and the process could make clear, sustainable steps towards community changes.

For instance, formerly homeless and economically disadvantaged men and women in Los Angeles make the seedbombs out of local materials. Chrysalis, a nonprofit that has been committed to creating employment opportunities in the area since 1984, partners with Commonstudio to employ these folks.

“The thing about seedbombs is how accessible they are,” Karlsrud says. “People are divorced from natural things that can grow, especially in an urban environment. That simple act of [throwing a seedbomb] is very empowering for people.”

By using responsible materials, giving jobs to people who need them, and making it fun and easy to fight for greener spaces, Commonstudio has truly designed a ball that keeps the good times rolling.

Now that you know what seedbombs are, here are Greenaid’s three “Throw and Grow” planting tips for use:

1. Try to find a planting site that is likely to receive water at some point throughout the year. You can also choose a site that you can water yourself periodically.
2. Simply toss or bury (half way is fine) your seedbomb into a planting site of your choice. It isn’t necessary for the seedbomb to crumble or break, but don’t worry if it does.
3. For faster germination, make sure your seedbomb gets plenty of water to start. Seedbombs are also capable of lying dormant until the next natural rainy season. Under ideal conditions the seeds should begin to germinate and sprout in about a week.

Seedbombs are available now for a limited time at Designed Good, the online store that curates the best in design and social good by telling the stories about how innovative brands are making a difference.

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