about the artist



Urban growth- Spring 2008-10

Seed balls: A project to promote urban foraging in San Francisco.

In remote or rural areas, berries and greens can still be freely foraged. By reclaiming many of our city’s under utilized sites Urban Growth promotes the possibility of reclaiming the commons by seeding bare and untended earth under freeways, vacant lots, spaces between buildings or soil just emerging from abandoned and broken bits of concrete. Land, which has been left abused and fallow, is revitalized and will offer its bounty to feed the surrounding people and animals with plants that will nourish not only those who eat them but also the ground they grow in.

The project:
Urban Growth will create and broadcast thousands of seed balls filled with native and edible seeds around San Francisco on fallow urban landscapes. Seed balls are known throughout the world as an efficient and successful strategy to reclaim difficult or abused land. The seeds are rolled up in mud and humus containing a high degree of clay, and strewn over the ground creating a self-sustaining mini-community (for information about seedballs visit The clay protects the seeds from being eaten by birds, and when the rains come, the humus and clay help hold moisture and nutrients so the seeds germinate. Some of the seeds I plan to use are, miner’s lettuce, burdock, mint, nettle, wild leeks, dandelion, chicory, mustard, lambs quarter, mycelium, wild spinach and purslane.

Support materials including maps of the planting sites will be handed out in neighborhood communities or through this blog so that those who want to gather the food know where edibles have been planted, what they look like and what to do with them. When these plants grow, they become part of a living sustainable community of relationships that includes billions of soil micro-organisms, worms, insects, other plants, birds, and humans, all of which work together to create a network of dynamic interactions. Urban Growth will create the possibility of more foragable foods within our everyday landscape.

Join us to make the seedballs, find the sites, broadcast the seed and finally to harvest our labors. Watch for postings of events here.











seed ball



A Recipe for Seedballs:
microcosms of the living world.

5 parts dry red clay
3 parts dry organic compost
1 part seed
1 - 2 parts waterWe used a 16oz. plastic cup as a measure, which made enough for approximately 300 seedballs. After mixing together all the dry ingredients, we added enough water to form a mix that held together without crumbling but wasn’t so wet that it wouldn’t roll into balls. Pinching off small bits of the lovely mud, we rolled penny-sized balls and set them in trays. They will sit on my windowsill for three or four days until completely dry. The point is to keep the seed protected, until it finds a niche for itself in the biosphere, and is ready to grow.





















© 2007, Laura Parker, All rights reserved. Copyright information  

Updated:December 10, 2009