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5 eco-friendly community action projects to inspire you

Written by

Polly Barks

If you’re reading here, it’s likely you have a passion for sustainability. But taking that passion and turning it into something practical for your community is easier said than done.

Have a look at these 5 eco-friendly community action projects and find some inspiration to stop dreaming and start taking action.

Greenaid – tactical guerilla gardening

Greenaid - tactical guerilla gardening
Image via @CommonStudio

I’m a huge fan of the seed bomb idea (basically, making a little ball of soil and clay mixed with native seeds that you just casually toss in empty spots to fill with plants!).

Spring plans, anyone?

The Common Studio – a group that creates collaborative projects for urban ecosystems – took the basic concept of seed bombs and elevated it. As they say,

In contrast to expensive, monofunctional top-down solutions offered by local developers and municipalities, building more viable green space from the bottom-up requires cheap, flexible, non-site specific approaches that can be deployed and scaled across entire cities to address the various conditions of the urban landscape.

Basically, they created coin-operated vending machines to distribute seeds across cities. They custom tailored the seeds to meet the local conditions and needs where they were placed.

Better yet, as the project expanded they offered long-term employment opportunities to formerly homeless folks in LA to make seed bombs and operate these machines!

Recommended reading: Urban Gardening for Beginners

My Little Free Pantry

In response to the increased food insecurity that came with a global pandemic and ineffective leadership, I started a Little Free Pantry on my porch sometime in early summer. Since then, it’s expanded to include

This project has been really great. For entirely selfish reasons, I can go outside and clean it up/restock so that even on my worst days I feel I’ve accomplished something. It’s also been incredible to see the community give and take so freely!

I can’t recommend starting one more – and it definitely doesn’t have to be fancy! Learn more about my thoughts on starting a little free pantry.

This is – of course – just one of many little free pantries and “freedges” all over the USA.

Lawrence Community Gardens

Lawrence community gardens

What’s more radical and eco-friendly that saying a big “screw you” to unjust and unsustainable food systems by building your own community garden in a food insecure area?

Read more:  How to host your own zero waste dinner party

… not much!

Lawrence Community Gardens – a little outside of Indianapolis – is doing just that. It’s an almost 8 acre community garden that partnered with a private company and the local government to take over an empty plot of land and donate back the food grown to local organizations.

Learn more about Lawrence Community Gardens.

Crooked River Alliance of Time Banks

5 eco-friendly community action projects to inspire you - PollyBarks.com

This is so cool to me and is one of my big projects to explore in 2021. A time bank is essentially where people can share services without exchanging money. For every hour of service you do for another member (ex. babysitting a kid, repairing a fence, doing taxes), you get one hour to “spend” on any member service you want!

Not only does this help folks move away from our unjust, unsustainable economic model, but it also provides dignity and value for all! A doctor’s time is valued the same as a nanny’s as a carpenter’s as a cook’s! We all have things to share – a time bank helps us formalize this.

The Crooked River Alliance is a large, active time bank that models this concept really well!

People’s Climate March wheatpasting action

5 eco-friendly community action projects to inspire you - PollyBarks.com

Ever heard of wheatpasting? It’s an incredible asset to any activist’s repertoire of skills. At it’s most simple, wheat paste is a mixture of flour and water that turns into an eco-friendly glue that’s exceptionally powerful.

One excellent example of how an organization used wheatpaste as a powerful tool for activism is the People’s Climate March. The combined art and public space to create beautiful posters reminding folks about the march.

The wheat paste made the messages durable, without a cocktail of chemicals that might disturb the facade of whatever they were posted on!


What other examples of eco-friendly community action projects have you heard of or participated in?

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