Seed bombing alternative culture

Recently I grabbed a copy of Dazed and Confused, ‘one of the world’s leading style and culture magazines’, to read on an early-morning train journey. The contents were of variable interest levels – it was disappointing to find the ‘new king of the beats’ to be some disco bloke rather than a new Kerouac; the fetish-inspired fashion spreads made me wish I had a copy of Country Walking to shield the innocent eyes of fellow travellers; I needed to know about the Wonder Women of America book. But what struck me the most was that it had a packet of seeds glued to the cover…

These hadn’t migrated from a nearby copy of Organic Gardening. They were part of a tie-in with Adidas, promoting their GrĂ¼n shoes, ‘a collection that aims to better the environment by efficiently utilizing the natural resources of this world’.

The idea of the seeds is that they can be used to make a seed bomb. Seed bombs were dreamt up as part of the guerilla gardening movement, as a form of nonviolent political direct action. Basically you mix seeds with compost and clay and chuck them on to buts of urban wasteland. (Proper instructions here, if you fancy having a go.) “Vandalise the city with nature” and subversively transform the landscape… I’m not sure where I read about this originally – Adbusters magazine, Permaculture or somesuch – but it has always stuck in a corner of my mind, like a patch of wildflowers colonising some corporate urban non-space, as a life-enhancingly anarchic practice. So seeing it co-opted to sell shoes jars somewhat.

But should it? Adidas presumably sell lots of shoes and has an appealing brand and widepread distribution – more than many ethical clothes brands – so maybe their doing some green stuff has a significant effect. And if subversive actions like seedbombing are a good idea then isn’t it a good thing for them to be spread through the communication channels of mainstream commercial culture?