Spades and scoops weapons of choice in war on ugly (Google / The Budapest Times)

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Guerrilla gardening

Spades and scoops weapons of choice in war on ugly

A movement aimed at combatting the neglect of public spaces is taking a militant approach: using the language of warfare the organisers of the Zöld Vadművelet (Operation Green ) project and the Hegyalja Festival are calling on citizens to take the initiative and do something for their city. Behind its combative image, the project is actually about performing illegal gardening actions overnight to spruce up shabby areas.

Authorities not amused

Illegally planting flowers and removing dog excrement sounds fairly harmless. As unlikely as it might sound, there is still a risk of being arrested or fined in jobsworth Hungary, as the Zoldvadművelet organisers warn on their website. They are speaking from first-hand experience.

“The first reaction to our guerrilla action was rather negative: the Public Area Supervisory Office wanted to report us to the police. Finally, however, they appreciated that, although the action was illegal, it was in the interest of citizens,” Krisztián Kolesár, one of the organisers, told The Budapest Times. On that occasion the guerrilla gardeners decorated the lampposts on Margaret Bridge with flowers during a night operation.

The Public Area Supervisory Office is now actually actively supporting them by helping to pay for plants and soil.

Grows across country


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.