Writers and poets dream that words could blossom from their pencils like gardens in springtime. Now they can literally bloom with “Sprout,” the pencil from Democratech that you can plant. By scrapping the eraser and replacing it with a water-activated seed capsule, the end of a pencil marks the beginning of a vegetable, flower, or herb garden. Designed around a classic Ticonderoga cedar body, the Sprout is a fun way to reconnect with nature and a great green reward for finishing a stack of homework.
Sprout grew from a product design course at MIT where the students were asked to create an eco-friendly product for the office of the future. By topping a cedar Ticonderga with a seed capsule, the developers hoped to make recycling and gardening more attractive to kids as well as maintaining the character of the good old number 2 pencil. According to Mario Bollini, one of the masterminds behind the Sprout, it “doesn’t have an eraser because we don’t believe in making mistakes. We’ve never been happy with the stock erasers on pencils, they tend to be too small and low quality. We want every part of using Sprout to be fun, so instead of sacrificing overall quality (and adding cost and complexity) by grafting on an eraser, we scrapped it entirely.”
Once the Sprout becomes too stubby to handle, it can head directly into a pot of dirt and act as a label for a future garden. Pencil-chewers should be careful, as the seeds cannot tell the difference between a watering can and spit. However, since the Sprout is completely non-toxic, gnawers will have the opportunity to happily munch on an herb or veggie instead of splinters after a couple of months. The pencil is currently featured on Kickstarter where a pledge of $5 will buy a Basil Sprout with free shipping. More generous donors can receive garden combo packs (including the “Simon & Garfunkel” which includes parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme) to keep them writing and fruiting just in time for back-to-school and planting season.