Slow Food’s Flower Bomb Challenge
THE FLOWER BOMB CHALLENGE IS OFFICIALLY ON!
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. Margaret Atwood’s words of wisdom inspired us: spring made its come back, it is time to get our hands dirty! And what a better way to do so than with a “Flower Bomb Challenge”?
As of May 5, participants have two weeks to make their “flower bombs” (a mix of wildflower seeds, clay and soil) and will be invited to throw them around in their garden or in public spaces on World Bee Day (May 20) and the following weekend.
Why a Flower Bomb Challenge Now?
Pollinating insects (butterflies, bees, bumblebees etc) play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and sustaining our food system, by pollinating crops that end up as food on our tables. Without them, a high number of wild and cultivated plant and animal species would no longer exist. Yet, industrial monocultures and the use of toxic pesticides are decreasing pollinators’ numbers at an alarming rate.
Slow Food decided to organize the “Flower Bomb Challenge” to put under the spotlight, a European campaign that is close to is heart: the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) “Save Bees and Farmers”. Supported by hundreds of organizations across Europe, that campaign aims at collecting 1 million signatures across Europe to oblige the EU institutions to address our key demand: a bee-friendly agriculture in Europe that respects farmers, consumers, animals, and the planet. Our goal with the Flower Bomb Challenge is to raise awareness on the dramatic decline of pollinators and biodiversity due to the use of toxic pesticides and monocultures, and to encourage people to take action for a better future, by signing the ECI.
Fun and easy to make, “flower bombs” are a strong statement: they tell our desire to see nature thrive again, even in the most unexpected places. They can indeed be used in your garden at home but also to green up urban wasteland (neglected roundabouts, flower beds and planters etc); they can be launched anywhere as long as there is soil beneath them.
We need your help to make some noise about the “Flower Bomb Challenge” and the ECI “Save Bees and Farmers”. How? It is easy:
- Sign and share the ECI “Save Bees and Farmers” with your network
- Make plenty of flower bombs (Read how)! Do not hesitate to take pictures or videos of yourself in action, and tag three friends to encourage them to make their own bombs and to sign the ECI!
- From 20 to 23 May, take a picture of your hand holding your flower bombs, throw them around, and post about it on your social media with the hashtags #FlowerBombChallenge and #SaveBeesandFarmers and tag us on Facebook (@slowfoodinternational), Twitter (@SlowFoodEurope; @SlowFoodHQ) and Instagram (@slowfood_international).
For more information about the ECI “Save Bees and Farmers”, check out our dedicated page (and take 2 min to sign it before you leave !)
What is a Flower Bomb?
A Flower Bomb is a little ball made up of a combination of compost, clay and seeds. The compost and clay act as a carrier for the seeds so they can be launched over walls or fences and into inaccessible areas such as wasteland or railways.
How do I make Flower Bombs?
Check out our step-by-step tutorial !
Where should I launch them?
Flower bombs can be launched anywhere as long as there is soil beneath them. Their versatility is part of their charm.
- Home gardens, window boxes or the veggie patch.
- Alleyways and path networks around your local city, town or village.
- Urban green roofs, sheds or outbuildings.
- Out of train, car and bus windows (they make journeys for future travellers much more attractive)
- Roadsides, central reservations and roundabouts, railways and urban tree pits.
- Unmaintained areas
Nearly any place is a good place to start a gardening guerilla!
What seeds should I use?
We encourage you to use wildflower seeds in your flower bombs to have more chance to attract pollinators. Why? Wildflower species are native or naturalized plants growing on their own, without cultivation or assistance. Many pollinators are also native to the area and will seek out plants that grow in their natural surroundings. It’s part of nature’s plan: Wildflowers and pollinators need each other to survive!
Where can I actually get materials to make my own flower bombs?
Wildflower seeds: we suggest you buy (or forage!) locally some native wildflowers as these are more resilient and grow without cultivation or assistance. Though most wildflowers will take at least a year to reach maturity and bloom, you will have helped some native species return to your neighborhood and provided food and habitat for many creatures!
Clay: you can get some powdered clay from your local crafts store, or if you’ve got a garden or park nearby with some reddish soil that you can use, then you can dig some yourself!
Compost: there’s a few different options to choose from here, from ready-made compost or potting mix bought from your local garden store, to home-made compost or soil straight from your garden. Take your pick!