Of seedlings and social protest

The Plantón Móvil project introduces a call for sustainability.

Kelly Holm, Reporter


Lucia Monge began Plantón Móvil in Lima, Peru in 2010 with the goal of encouraging people and plants to peacefully coexist in a sustainable manner. Seven years later, the movement has spread  across the globe and is held in a different international location every year. Previous settings have included Thailand and New York City, but this year’s locale was right in the Snelling neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Plantón Móvil (in English, “mobile seed”) consists of “peaceful marches that convey the spiritual idea that we as a society must recognize plants as living, breathing creature,” said first-year Alexander Larson, who became acquainted with the movement through his enrollment in Professor Valentine Cadieux’s sustainability class. “Essentially, through the project, we are lending plants our mobility by carrying them to a locale where they can be planted,.”

The project’s title, Plantón Móvil,  contains the Spanish word plantón which means both sapling and social protest.

Larson admitted that the sustainability course was originally out of his comfort zone- as a business and education double major, its objectives did not exactly line up with his career goals. However, he has taken to heart the many valuable skills he’s learned so far.

“I did end up learning management of a team within a functioning body toward a similar goal,” Larson stated.  “I’m actually quite grateful that I was given this opportunity through Valentine [Cadieux]. Anyone who is looking for a unique course should take it.”

Other students in the class, such as first-year Maren Grunnet agreed that the class was a worth their time.  

“It’s really cool being in a class that’s actually doing a community project,” Grunnet said.

After the event, most of the foliage collected by the sustainability students will be planted along the Pierce Butler Route near the interstate, which was torched earlier, as it was teeming with weeds and invasive species.

“It had just turned into a place for people to dump their trash,” added Cadieux.

The project’s directors hope to fill the area instead with flora native to Minnesota, such as the showy Penstemon flower and the red elderberry shrub.  

Jasper Johnson, a graduate student going for his master’s degree in Geographic Information Studies, said that he decided to attend the event because his friend wanted him to, but he still appreciated the message the project conveyed.

“Adding more green space to an urban area is pretty cool,” Johnson said. “We need more appealing and native plants- plus all the costumes are pretty wild!” he said with a laugh, referring to the fact that many attendees were strapping the plants onto their person in an effort to look like, as one junior environmental studies major put it, “a walking prairie.”

Now in its eighth year, the Plantón Móvil project is still going strong with no signs of stopping. According to founder Lucia Monge, in 2018 it will take place in London for the second time. She said she was inspired to see “people and plants working together in harmony” and called for a greater respect for plants in the city.