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Ikea unveils a new Swedish meatball—for insects only

Swedish Seedballs are made of soil, clay, and wildflower seeds—and can help you grow native plants in your backyard.

[Source photo: Ikea]

Ikea is serving up a new kind of meatball—but you don’t get to eat it.

To raise awareness about the lack of wild habitats for insects, Ikea Denmark has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to reinvent an Ikea staple. Enter the Swedish Seedball: a meatball, but for insects.

Made of soil, clay, and wildflower seeds, Swedish Seedballs will help you grow native plants that can feed endangered insects. In Denmark, those include corn cockles (a rare wildflower), chamomile, and poppies. Unlike regular seeds, which may require gardening skills to grow, the meatball-shaped Seedballs are ready to be planted in your garden (or, say, in an Ikea Brunbär terra-cotta pot).

Only 7,500 kits are available in Denmark, and exclusively to members of Ikea’s Family club loyalty program. But once they sell out, the company’s Danish site will publish a recipe guide for you to make your own Seedballs at home—no matter where you live.

Around the world, urbanization is altering the wildlife landscape, as roads and cities often fragment animals’ natural habitats. And land used for farming, coupled with climate change, reduces biodiversity—in some cases cutting insect populations by half. As of 2016, more than 60% of the Danish landscape was made up of cultivated land, leaving little room for untouched, wild nature. According to the WWF, only 1% to 2% of Danish nature is actually wild, which puts thousands of animal species at risk of extinction.

[Photo: Ikea]

By comparison, about 12% of U.S. land area is currently safeguarded as wilderness, though every 30 seconds we lose a football field’s worth of natural areas to roads, houses, and other development. Last year, the Biden administration announced the first-ever national goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s land by 2030, essentially ensuring that an additional 18% of the country’s wilderness is forever protected from future development.And no, planting Seedballs in your backyard won’t be enough to rewild the country, but it dovetails with Ikea’s broader initiatives to help mitigate climate change. As part of this initiative, Ikea is reimagining the space around its Denmark stores: swapping grass lawns for wild plants, flowers, and insect hotels. Last year, it said it would start selling renewable energy to customers in Sweden, and it launched a furniture buyback program in a number of countries, including the U.S. In its Copenhagen store, scheduled to open in 2023, it’s planting a lush rooftop garden with native trees, shrubs, and insect hotels. And in the U.S., it has acquired an 11,000-acre forest in Georgia to protect it from development. These are all part of the company’s broader plan to be climate positive by 2030.

Now Ikea wants garden owners to join the fight, one Seedball at a time. And when the recipe guide goes live, be sure to pick a plant that’s native to your region.