On my way to work yesterday I spotted a sign near Penn Station that caught my eye. I recognized the logo immediately and knew it belonged to my friends at ioby (‘in our backyards’), so I forced my way back against the morning rush of commuter foot traffic to get a better look. The sign said “with ioby I could be..” with the blank filled in to say “a Farmer’s Market!”
After doing some online digging and calling Erin Barnes, one of the co-founders of ioby (much easier than digging), I found out that this sign was part of a guerrilla effort carried out by ioby supporters, with the intention of encouraging people to ‘reimagine’ spaces they see in their communities, and that ioby can help those ideas become realities. Erin explained that “ioby is a move out of the environmental movement’s NIMBY past. ioby is all about saying, ‘This is my neighborhood and I want positive change right here. I’ve got an idea and I’m going to make it happen with my neighbors.”
The Reimagine signs were placed all over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens (and maybe the Bronx and SI, but I couldn’t recognize the other boroughs in pictures). Each sign had it’s own message; some people imagined spaces could be community vineyards, murals, rooftop gardens, and more. You can check out all of the reimagined spaces on ioby’s Facebook page.
Sadly, this particular sign was already taken down by this morning, but it was cool while it lasted. As someone who works in advertising, I really appreciate the appropriateness of a grassroots marketing effort by a grassroots organization; getting creative, getting dirty, and going guerrilla.
ioby connects donors and volunteers to environmental projects in their neighborhoods to inspire new environmental knowledge and action in New York City. If you’ve got an idea about making your ‘backyard’ community a better place and want to make it happen, check out the ioby website to see how they can help.