Hipster Animals: Urban Apiarist
Urbanfig is excited to introduce you to Rob McFarland, co-Founder of HoneyLove.org a 501(c)3 non-profit conservation organization with a mission to protect the honeybees and inspire and educate new urban beekeepers.
NUMBER OF YEARS URBAN GARDENING: 8
FAVORITE THINGS TO GROW:
Blueberries, artichokes, and lettuce
URBAN FARMING LOCATION:
Del Rey Neighborhood of Los Angeles
Soil is alive and compost is your friend.
YOUR OWN GARDENING TIPS AND TRICKS:
In order to grow something, you must first plant a seed.
WHY DID YOU FIRST START GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD?
I started growing food because I wanted a tangible way of living more sustainably.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO GROW?
Any food crop. Nothing more satisfying than getting to eat (or drink) something you’ve grown.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK OUT OF THE GARDEN?
Broccoli, my favorite vegetable. I love the simplicity of steaming some broccoli that is fresh from the garden.
WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO GARDEN (OR HOW DID YOU LEARN)?
I learn something new almost every day, mostly from reading and talking with fellow gardeners. My Mom taught me the gardening fundamentals, and also taught me the love of gardening (and learning).
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNER GARDENERS?
I don’t have advice so much as I have encouragement: JUST GO FOR IT. Even if you don’t think you have room, you can always start with one container and one tomato plant.
HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK DO YOU SPEND IN THE GARDEN?
Totally depends on the week, but I try to spend time in the garden every day.
DO YOU RAISED BEDS, CONTAINERS, THE GROUND OR A COMBINATION OF WHAT?
I have stuff growing in a combination of containers, raised beds, and in the ground.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE GARDEN?
Not having enough space or direct sunlight. Also, birds LOVE to steal my berries.
WHAT ARE YOU GROWING RIGHT NOW?
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi berries, strawberries, goji berries, passion fruit, pomegranate, figs, lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, guava, grapes, avocado, lettuce, summer squash, borage, sunflowers, artichoke, carrots, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, chocolate mint, and spearmint.
HOW HAS GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD AFFECTED OR CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Growing food has given me a new understanding of what it means to be successful.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT´S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE GROW THEIR OWN FOOD?
Growing food is one of those activities that helps us see behind the curtain, and gives us an appreciation of the natural world. It brings you to the core of what it means to be human. Agriculture after all is one of the forces behind our evolution as a species.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE THING ABOUT GARDENING?
It sounds cliche, but at a fundamental level, my favorite part of gardening is feeling connected the natural world. That and getting to eat delicious garden-fresh food.
OTHER THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS?
Connect with us online!
Photo from HoneyLove’s garden this weekend ?
Lemon tree + Honey Bee + Butterfly
Paul Hekimian of Santa Monica invited HoneyLove to rescue a beehive from his backyard and set him up to be an urban beekeeper. Paul is taking advantage of Santa Monica’s new ordinance to allow urban beekeeping. He is just the fourth person to register a hive. Paul’s father was a beekeeper at age 45, and now Paul at the same age gets to pass on beekeeping to his sons. Rob McFarland of HoneyLove.org was able to remove an open air hive from a tree and set Paul up with a nice new colony.
Filmed & Edited by Eric Longden
HoneyLove.org is a 501(c)3 non-profit conservation organization with a mission to protect the honeybees and inspire and educate urban beekeepers.
Thank you SO much to everyone who came all the way out to our Bee-Day @ the HoneyLove Sanctuary!! What an amazing crew of HoneyLovers we have!!
We brought up a rain barrel, and planted some California Native BEE-friendly plants (from Matilija Nursery). We branded and painted 9 medium supers (bee-boxes) with linseed oil, and made starter strips for all of the boxes’ frames… and we cleared and leveled out spots to better situate our hives for some hands-on mentoring!!!
More photos coming soon!!
WATCH: Calif. Man Finds 50,000 Bees Inside Home
via ABC News: Top Stories!!
Audree Steinberg reports:
On July 7 a photojournalist discovered an estimated 50,000 bees living in the walls of his Los Angeles home, and he wasn’t even scared.
Spending little time at home because of work, Larry Chen, 27, initially didn’t notice the bees. According to the beekeeper he hired, the hive was an estimated six to eight months old.
A month ago, Chen began noticing bees buzzing in and out of his window, and he decided to investigate. According to Chen, the bees only came out during a 30-minute window in the day.
“I’m not really terrified of the bees… I just remained calm, and I figured they wouldn’t bother me too much… I got stung once, but I was more curious about how big the hive actually was. I figured it was just a small clump of 1,000 or so,” Chen said.
After his investigation, he spent a month on the road, traveling for work. When he returned, Chen found time to call a professional to assess the situation. He explained that he recently saw a documentary about the endangerment of bees, so he wanted to save – not exterminate – them.
He found a man on Craigslist, who goes by the name Mike Bee, who said he would safely remove the bees. He is a member of the rescue organization Backwards Beekeepers, a group that works with HoneyLove.org in order to educate the public about bees.
“My policy is to relocate, not exterminate,” the beekeeper explained.
It took Mike Bee and his wife five hours to remove the bees from the wall. Mike Bee was stung four times.
The bees entered through a ventilation pipe that airs out the attic and an area near a window, according to Mike Bee. Although the pipes were lined with a wire mesh, the squares were big enough for bees to fit through. Since the area was a dark, protective shelter and featured a convenient entry point, the space was very accommodating to a beehive.
First, the beekeeper located the bees and cut the drywall. Then he burned pine needles, creating a smoke that would calm the bees. Afterwards, he began vacuuming the bees in a custom-made device, so that the comb could be visible. He removed the queen and cut out the comb, placing it in a box with the bees.
After removing the bees, he scraped off any remnants of wax from the honeycombs and cleaned the area of the hive. He then stapled screening mesh over the ventilated pipes in order to deter a new swarm from finding the same spot.
The bees filled two boxes that fit 20,000 bees each, but there were still many strays. The beekeeper explained that the bees would be returned to the city after he completes a process called an orientation flight.
“It’s good we caught it at this time because it could have been a lot bigger,” Chen said.
WATCH: Honey Bee Rescue – Next Day
featuring Honeylove.org (Santa Monica, CA)
“The bees like their new location. I think we will have a strong and productive hive. Thanks goes out to Honeylove.org for making it so easy and for my friend Lisa Zolner of Whole Foods Market that made this all happen so quickly with her efforts of bee awareness.” -Paul [paulsitive.com]
While not allowed in the city, beekeeping is flourishing in Edmonton. The CBC’s Kim Trynacity looks at how the hobby thrives through secret hives and honey bribes.
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES!!
Help us save the honey bees!!
Your contribution directly supports the educational outreach, community action and advocacy efforts to protect the health and well-being of honey bees. HoneyLove is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible.