**and check out their LIVE BEE CAM!!
The 2012 Theme:
“Sustainable Agriculture Starts with Honey Bees!”
AFTER PARTY @ 423 West Gallery (7-10pm)
ARTICLE: The bears and the bees: Humans messing up the natural world, again
By Patt Morrison
L.A., we have been seeing waaaaay too many movies — and not enough nature documentaries.
First, the news:
Glen Bearian — so named for his Glendale haunts and with a clever Armenian-sounding surname for a city with a large Armenian population — had been cooling off in a local pool not long before he was tranquilized and carted back to the Angeles National Forest by Fish and Game officials for the second time in four months.
He’s been wandering around foothill streets, and in April, before he was shipped back to the wild the first time, he startled a gadget-absorbed pedestrian who — in the fashion of so many text-obsessed people who have almost walked right into me — almost ran right into the bear in Montrose.
And then my colleague Steve Lopez just reported on urban beekeepers in Los Angeles, where the law bans hives but where residents are tending their own backyard hives, which may be the saving of bee populations that are collapsing in the wild. (I know an urban beekeeper, but you’ll never Abu Ghraib that out of me.)
And in May, Santa Monica police shot and killed a mountain lion that had wandered into a courtyard in a city office building and gotten trapped — killed unnecessarily, to some locals’ way of thinking, and they made their feelings known.
…ditto the bees. Anyone in a neighborhood complains and the bees are exterminated as if they were pests, instead of a tiny, vital part of the food chain. All those killer bee movies seem to make city folk think that the honeybee, the workhorse of agriculture, ornamental and comestible, is out there raring to kill us.
I was astonished by some of the comments on Lopez’s piece, people demanding that the city wipe out all beehives because someone in their family has a serious allergy to bee venom.
Really? Kill off all urban bees because you’re afraid your child might be stung? While we’re at it, let’s take out school and park swing sets because someone might get hurt. Let’s chop down that tree because some kid might try to climb it. Oh wait, we did that already, didn’t we?
Without bees, whole swaths of agriculture could collapse, floraculture could collapse, all the creatures dependent on them would go — boom, boom, boom, domino, dead.
Already honeybees are themselves in a state of collapse in parts of the country. Bees are so scarce that California almond growers are having to patronize rent-a-hive businesses to get the bee pollinators into their orchards. Agriculture isn’t just “out there” either. Urban gardeners and urban gardens could help to save bee populations, and Los Angeles still bears traces of what it once was, even afterWorld War II: the richest agricultural county in the nation.
We humans had better wise up. At the rate we’re going, with the attitude we bring to our dealings with these creatures — destroying their homes to build ours, intolerant of even the insects whose survival is closely tied to our own — in very short order the only place we’ll be able to see them is on movie screens.
Bees ? Thai Basil -
Thai Basil is another honey bee approved plant for your garden! It is a type of sweet basil (native to Southeast Asia) and has “purple-flushed, lance-like leaves with a sweet licorice scent”(1). When it is blooming you’ll see bees busily buzzing around it and drinking nectar all day long!
In general, bees seem to gravitate towards blue and purple flowers, and Thai Basil is a great example of this! Click here to view a list of other bee-friendly plants!
[Thank you thewhimsicalgardener.com for letting us post your beautiful photos!]
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
HoneyLove featured in Sunset Magazine ?!!!
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.