Guerrilla Gorilla, What? Never fear, this has nothing to do attaching appendages to gorilla animals! I am talking about plants and gardening here! Guerrillas as in small groups taking stands against larger controlling groups and grafting as in to “insert a small twig cut from one fruit tree into a cut in another, compatible fruit tree. If you’ve placed the grafts correctly, the twig will soon start to grow on the host tree and eventually produce fruit. ” (NGA)
This is Tara herself, the driving force behind the Guerrilla Grafters (Photo credit npr.org)
When I first heard about the Guerrilla Grafters about a year ago, my mind was blown. I was, and still am, sooo impressed at this seemingly simple act of radical vigilante urban gardening. I know, why should growing fruit have to be considered radical?! It is crazy, but these days it is. The idea of growing sustainable food for the neighborhood is still an intimidating idea for many, so I send a huge thank you to the Guerrilla Grafters for going out there and making fruit happen for the people!
(Photo credit instructian.com)
Self described, “The [Guerrilla Grafters] graft fruit bearing branches onto non-fruit bearing, ornamental fruit trees. Over time, delicious, nutritious fruit is made available to urban residents through these grafts. We aim to prove that a culture of care can be cultivated from the ground up. We aim to turn city streets into food forests, and unravel civilization one branch at a time.”
Well who can argue with that!!!
“The streets of San Francisco are lined with pear, plum and apple trees, but out of fear that the fruit would make a mess and attract rodents, the city intentionally planted sterile trees that don’t bear fruit. By grafting fruit-bearing branches on those trees, Guerrilla Grafters make fruit free and accessible to anyone who picks it. The group was started by Tara Hui, who started grafting fruit-bearing branches onto city trees a few years ago…
(Photo Credit inhabitat.com)
With ‘undoing civilization one branch at a time’ as their motto, Guerrilla Grafters consider what they do to be a radical act — and it is. Although it doesn’t solve problems of food scarcity, it’s a symbolic move towards making fresh food free and accessible to all. As the group explains, it’s one step closer to creating ‘a habitat that sustains us.'” (Guerrilla Grafters Secretly Graft Fruit-Bearing Branches onto San Francisco Trees, by Mark Boyer, 09/17/12)
(Photo Credit sfgate.com)
Head Guerrilla Tara Hui isn’t just a gardening rebel without a clue. She is a true activist working to help bring free food to area severely lacking. She says, “The intention of doing guerrilla grafting is not so much for the sake of challenging authority, but to set an example – a working example – to counter the arguments,” said Hui, a Beijing-born urban gardener and gray water activist with a computer science degree. “If we have a prototype, we can have a legitimate rational discussion on the issue” (SFGate). Smart, qualified, and with community driven purpose and intention, Hui sounds like the perfect person to be heading this movement to me, how about you!
(Photo Credit sfgate.com)
I know this may no be an option for everyone to get involved with, but isn’t it nice to know that this is happening? Does it inspire you as much as it does me? I have never really learned how to graft very well, but this type of work really gives me motivation to brush up my skills. If for no other reason than to selfishly produce better citrus in my neighborhood! (Did you know that all Florida citrus, home and commercial, is grafted? It’s true!)
How can you bring accessible edible nature to your area?
Share your thoughts on Guerrilla Grafters and radical acts of urban gardening in the comments!
Seeds to Sprout:
Follow the vigilante grafting acts of the Guerilla Grafters on Facebook!
Listen to a short 3 minute interview with the Guerrilla Grafters on NPR and hear both sides of the story behind bringing free fruit to the people of San Fran
Watch how to graft a fruit tree on You Tube
Learn the Ins and Outs of grafting for yourself from this University of Minnessota Extension Grafting and Budding resource
Check out grafting tips and techniques from the National Gardening Association
Want to get involved with Guerrilla Gardening but not sure you’re ready to test your grafting skills? Well check out making Seed Balls in the first Wings, Worms, and Wonder Wonder Wednesday post ever!
Remember the Teacher Appreciation Week sale! Just type in ilovemyteacher2014 now through 5/16/14 when you check out on orders over $44.95 in the Esty shop and you will get a 10% discount! Help teach teachers how to keep children and nature connected!