In Oakland, efforts to encourage urban farming tangle with concerns over soil safety. Cities all over the U.S. are grappling with the same issue.
Bee populations are struggling everywhere, but ironically they may be better off in cities than in the countryside. Why? Because rural areas have larger swathes of flowering plants when they're in season, but cities have them year-round in the form of urban parks and gardens.
This video on rooftop beekeeping in Brooklyn features Tim O'Neal, who blogs at Borough Bees and sometimes teaches Beekeeping 101. If you've been curious about putting together an urban apiary, this will give you an overview of what it's like and why it's good for the world. (Also, handy advice: "[Bees] are somewhat less chatty than a dog or a cat." The more you know!)
We know that some people don't think much of the idea of urban farming, in part because it takes up space that could otherwise be used to house people more densely. But what if an urban farm was a) vertical and b) using an otherwise abandoned space? That's the plan for Alpha Farm, to be built in the Wythenshawe area of Manchester, England
Here's an urban farm we'll still be able to use when rising sea levels flood all our cities! Science Barge is a floating organic farm set aboard a barge in the Hudson river.
Community gardens have an almost magical power to change the urban landscape. Now many in New York City are safe in the hands of those who tend them.
Julie Bass of Oak Park, Mich. no longer faces jail time for having a vegetable garden in her front yard.
Hey, remember the woman threatened with 93 days in jail for growing a garden in her front yard? She could have a cellmate! Dirk Becker of Lantzville, British Columbia turned his scraped-dry gravel pit of a property into a thriving organic farm, so of course he's facing six months of jail time. Why? Well, the thing is, this farm was full of DIRT. You can't have dirt in a yard! It's unsanitary.
The green movement doesn't have much use for lawns. Yeah, they make suburban enclaves look tidy and uniform, but really, would it be so effing bad if your house had something useful -- say, a vegetable garden -- instead of a high-maintenance water-hog outdoor carpet? What's the worst that could happen? Well, as Michigan woman Julie Bass discovered, if your city planner is certifiably power-crazy, you could be looking at 93 days in jail.