How to Make an S.O.S. Mobile Garden

December 26, 2011 by


S.O.S. Mobile Garden is a discarded shopping cart, suitcase, baby carriage, even a commode, retrofitted into a mobile edible garden for the purpose of engaging the public in debates about important issues such as recycling, food justice, urban decay, and just about any current socio-economic and environmental issue you can think of.

A “movement” created by New York artist and activist, Tattfoo Tan, the gardens are filled with plants and overflowing with symbolism. The discarded shopping cart in particular, often pushed by individuals who survive through pennies earned by recycling, begs discussion according to Tan, about excess consumption, homelessness, urban decay, and neglect.

Tan sees even the smallest edible garden as a response to the lack of available fresh food, a tainted food supply resulting from industrial gardening, and consumer interest in reducing the carbon footprint by shortening the distance between farm and fork.

Betsy Rosalen and her Mobile Garden.

Tan’s Instructions for Making Your Own Mobile Garden
1. Log on to and search the free items posting or dumpster dive.
2. Look out for items that can be easily rolled around like office chairs, luggage, strollers, skateboards, etc.
3. Contact donor and pick up items.
4. Fix any broken parts and convert the item to a planter.
5. Be creative and design your mobile garden.
6. Remember to put some holes at the bottom for drainage.
7. Place edible plants into your Mobile Garden.
8. Now you have a living sculpture.

Nancy and John Biggs’s Mobile Garden.

Tattfoo Tan’s art practice “seeks to find an immediate, direct, and effective way of exploring issues related to the individual in society” bringing together ‘art’ and ‘life’.


  1. Eileen said:

    I love it! Up-cycling for a cause!

    — December 26, 2011 @ 12:33

  2. Cindy McDonnell said:

    I think these ideas are genius for gardens that need a little help following the sun around! Go Green!

    — January 6, 2012 @ 12:21

  3. Anna said:

    That’s such a powerful statement, and what potent images!

    I love your blog – if you like check out mine at – I write about radical homemaking, DIY, and (eventually) gardening!

    Take care.

    — January 19, 2012 @ 01:43

  4. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Thank you Anna, will check out your blog!

    — February 24, 2012 @ 19:06

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