This is especially true for city dwellers or ethnic minorities, as well as younger people. A 2021 survey carried out in England discovered that people between the ages of 16-24 were two times more likely not to have access to an allotment or garden when compared with those who are over 65.
This post is one of the articles in Quarter Life, an ongoing series on issues that affect people in their 20s and 30s, from the pressures of starting an occupation and taking good care of our health to the excitement of beginning the family of your dreams, adopting pets, or simply becoming friends in adulthood. The articles in this series will explore the issues and provide solutions as we go through this turbulent time in our lives.
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Guerrilla gardening is a particularly good option for these groups of people. It can involve planting herbs or vegetables for a whole community to enjoy, spreading seeds or plants, tidying weeds, or even something as simple as picking up litter.
If you’re thinking of becoming a guerilla gardener, it’s essential to know your rights. Are you at risk of being arrested for doing it? Should you be waiting until the evening?
Richard Reynolds, who popularised modern guerrilla gardening, was located in Southwark, London. Roger Parkes / Alamy Stock Photo
Could you be prosecuted?
It is important to keep in mind that a lot of the uncultivated or undeveloped land that is likely to be suitable for gardening guerillas in cities and towns throughout the UK is part of local councils. Examples of these locations include damaged pavements, broken slabs, wastelands, and central areas of roundabouts.
Although a lot of this land is available for people to walk on gar, denying could be considered to be an act of trespass.
A law of trespass can be frightening. But gardening on this property is a violation of civil law, not a crime. So, a majority of gardeners who are guerrillas will not be penalized with a fine or criminal record.
Landowners legally have the power of recourse to “reasonable force” to remove the trespassers from their property. However, fortunately the majority of councils haven’t taken notice of gardeners who are guerrilla, not having the money, time or desire to take an action in court against them.
Colchester Council, for example, was unable to track who was the ” human shrub“, an unknown eco-activist who replanted the city’s flower gardens in empty plant pots in 2009. The plant was back after 2015 and gave a bouquet of seeds to the councillor of the area.
In other regions of the UK, the activities of guerilla gardeners have been generally welcomed by local authorities. In Salford, which is a city located in Greater Manchester, there is an official requirement to file an application and get permission to plant on vacant areas within the city. However, the local authorities tend not to interfere with illicit growth locations.
There is an unwritten agreement that gardeners can plant wherever they’d like due to the amount of space available and the lack of maintenance. This has the added benefit of reducing time and cash for local councils.
Be aware of the areas you cross. In some places guer, guerrilla gardening may attract unwanted public attention. For instance, during the May Day riots in 2000, for instance gardeners from guerrilla groups have been accuse to have planted cannabis seedlings in London’s central Parliament Square.
The night gardener could attract unwanted attention, especially if you’re carrying gardening tools that may be perceived as weapons that could be considered to be dangerous.
What can you do to begin?
There are a variety of guerrilla gardening you can get involved with, from planting native plants that help wildlife and pollinators and cleaning up abandoned land to create safe spaces for local residents.
One of the most simple ways to guerilla garden is the planting of seeds. Environmental projects may distribute ” seed bombs” while other projects use biodegradable “seed balloons” that are filled with helium, and then collapse after a few days, distributing seeds by air.
However you choose to do it to do, as a guerrilla gardener you should not harm the environment or interfere with the enjoyment of others in the landscape surrounding you. Keep in mind that wildflowers and weeds are of environmental value as well. Consider carefully the species you intend to plant so that you are able to protect the local wildlife and plants.