"Plant your own square meter!" is a semi-natural grassland support movement in Latvia initiated by project GrassLIFE.
It started in September 2020 when we invited people in Latvia to apply for planting one square meter of grassland flowers with seeds provided by us. The response was huge and the movement for semi-natural grasslands continues to grow.
“Natural grasslands are home to a unique biodiversity and a community of plants and other living beings that is not found anywhere else. During the last 70 years, semi-natural grasslands have been plowed, abandoned and overgrown with bushes or turned into sown species‐poor grasslands. Nowadays only 0.7 % of the territory of Latvia is covered by semi-natural grasslands. The GrassLIFE project is dedicated to the restoration of semi-natural grasslands, but it is clear that the project alone is not enough – greater involvement of society is needed. Latvia's semi-natural grasslands need your help!” said GrassLIFE project manager Inga Račinska.
In order to engage wider public in the conservation of semi-natural grasslands – meadows and pasture – the project GrassLIFE invited people to participate in the public support movement to the semi-natural grasslands "Plant your own square meter!". During the campaign we invited people in Latvia to sow a small plot of natural grassland in their own lawn, farmyard or in the corner of the restorable grassland, using the seeds obtained from semi-natural grassland plants of local origin. In order to acquire a better knowledge of the success of such an experiment, the participants agreed to report on the progress achieved at their own square meter, thereby helping to evaluate the effectiveness of additional sowing method.
Last summer Latvian Rural Youth Organization helped Latvian Fund for Nature to collect the seeds of semi-natural grassland plants. 15 members of the Latvian Rural Youth Organization together with the experts from the Latvian Fund for Nature collected seeds from 25 different flowers.
The 2020 campaign received an overwhelming response. Latvian Fund for Nature received considerably more applications than they had seeds available. Therefore, in 2020, we sent the seeds to the 700 applicants who wanted to sow grassland plants in the lawn. 455 applicants will receive seeds suitable for their territory in 2021. But for the 600 applicants whose land is currently unsuitable for sowing grassland plants, GrassLIFE experts will prepare individual recommendations.
Results of the campaign
Square meter of grassland in the Uzvaras Park
Riga municipal agency “Riga Gardens and Parks” managed by LLC "Riga Forests” (SIA “Rīgas meži”) also applied for participation in the campaign. The aim of this agency is to develop the creation of urban grasslands in the green areas of Riga. The first symbolic square meter in Uzvaras Park was sown on October 21st, 2020.
“We have been creating no-mow zones in the Uzvaras Park for several years, where clover, bedstraw, yarrow and other plants bloom, but we would like a biologically more valuable lawn to form here sooner. We also see that people really like such places in parks. Therefore, we are pleased to collaborate with the Latvian Fund for Nature and sow the first square meter of grassland. This is only the first step towards the vast "islands" of the natural grassland flowers in an urban environment.” said Uldis Zommers, Board Member at LLC "Riga Forests”.