The path to a better world isn't through pavers but via plants, says artist and Woolly Pocket founder Miguel Nelson. "I love architecture but I think if everyone was gardening instead of building, things would be better. I think we were put on Earth to garden."
Brothers and Woolly Pocket co-founders Rodney and Miguel Nelson pose in front of their Woolly Wall Pockets on display at Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco.Photo by Lance Shows
A student poses next to the edible schoolyard created at Santa Monica Boulevard Charter School.Photo by Suthi Picotte
The Wally Five pocket (seen here in cream) creates a living wall in any space--inside or out.
The Wee Woolly is the smallest Woolly Pocket, measuring in at just 12 inches wide, six inches long, and six inches high.
Gardener Christy Wilhelmi helps a student plant her Woolly Pocket at one of the edible schoolyards created by Woolly Pocket and School Nutrition Plus.Photo by Suthi Picotte
At one school, Woolly Pocket and School Nutrition Plus installed pockets for 100 students, just more than were members of the club. Ever since, more and more kids have joined and wanted to plant pockets of their own.Photo by Suthi Picotte
This school had a dilapidated garden that would have been expensive to restore to gardening conditions. By hanging Woolly Wall Pockets on the staircase in the parking lot, which also acts as the playground and place the students eat their lunches, the school was able to create an instant garden wall in one day.Photo by Suthi Picotte
A set of three Wally Threes can quickly create a living wall.
Woolly Pocket's newest product is Woolly Vagabond, a pocket that can be carried as a purse, placed on a table, or hung from the ceiling.
Woolly Vagabond has no place for keys or a wallet but is meant to be carried as an accessory. "You can think of it as competition for the Chihuahua," Nelson says.
A self-described "late bloomer" when it came to finding his green thumb, Nelson watched his wife learn to garden and when it came time to cover the walls of the event spaces he owns in Los Angeles with his brother, Rodney, they created pockets in which to grow plants and hang on the walls. "So many people came to the spaces and kept saying how much they liked them and would like to have some," he says. "One day, we realized that we had invented a product and should probably start selling it."
The brothers founded Woolly Pocket in January 2009 and launched the online store a few months later in May. Since then, Nelson has teamed up with School Nutrition Plus to install edible gardens in public schools throughout Los Angeles and is working with the city to create community gardens in blighted areas of L.A. and to green the downtown core. Dwell associate editor Miyoko Ohtake spoke with Nelson about the company's products and projects.
To see more Woolly Pockets and images from the School Nutrition Plus-Woolly Pocket edible gardens, view the slideshow.