Batalla Verde: From Mud Battles to Green Spaces, Guerilla-Gardening Style

Batalla Verde Green battle

Batalla Verde battlefield in open spaces. Image from Urbanarbolismo

You probably heard of la Tomatina, the tomato fight, in Spain, where each year some 50.000 visitors get together to throw 100.000 kilos of tomatoes at each other. And then there are water fights, pillow fights, foam fights, and so on, all of which are a lot of fun but also quite a waste of resources. Not so the Green Battle, or Batalla Verde. This way of fighting could be classified under guerrilla gardening (read the Guerilla gardening Manifesto) and aims to green the battlefield, often an abandoned construction site or grey parking lot. During the fight, the combatants throw balls of green mud at each other in order to cover themselves and the battlefield in this mix. The green mud actually contains seeds so that in no less than 2 to 3 weeks the battlefield becomes a garden, flourishing with resistant plants that don't need much water


Batalla Verde mud mix ingredients and target tree construction. Image from Urbanarbolismo

At the moment, La Batalla Verde is looking for a daring village to host this event in order to create more Mediterranean gardens and host the international Batalla Verde day.

The Space

The optimum battlefield should be pretty big and in need of green. It cold be an abundant construction site, a parking lot, spaces where no trees can be planted, like above underground parking houses, future park areas that are not being build due to lack of funding etc. La Batalla Verde is a very quick way to create a green space in a fun way and with little money.

Batalla Verde in closed spaces

Batalla Verde battlefield in closed spaces. Image from Urbanarbolismo
The battlefield

The battlefield is temporary closed off to mark the fighting area, and can be equipped with obstacles and target trees (see image above) to offer protection and hide-outs during the fight.

The rules

This green battle can simply take place to create a green space. However, to give the game a bit more meaning, you can apply rules to the fight:

• The participants can fight in groups.
• Each group can choose a plant that will represent the group later in the garden.
• Each group can build an idol to take to the battle and be thrown at by the other groups. These idols, huge puppets with massive heads, are very typical in some area of Spain. The figures should be made from mesh wire and some porous material so that the mud balls stick to it. That way the idols turn into sculptures like Jeff Koons's Puppy in Bilbao and become living sculptures in the gardens.

The result

The obstacles and idols stay in the battlefield and become part of the landscape. The garden grows with the seeds of the different groups. It's a good idea to move the battlefield each year in order to green as many areas as possible.

Batalla Verde results

Batalla Verde results. Image from Urbanarbolismo

So, who's up for a green mud bath? If you are interested in hosting a Batalla Verde, get in touch with Urbanarbolismo in Spain or become a fan of Batalla Verde in Facebook (info in Spanish). Via ::Urbanarbolismo

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