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Free food and a home for bees
By Jerry Brownstein
The Ninth Ward of New Orleans (US) has never fully recovered from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but one man has created a lush oasis of free food and sustainability right in the heart of that poor community. David Young founded a volunteer-run organization, Capstone Community Gardens, to support low income city residents, as well as honeybees that are in need of an environmentally-friendly home. David planted gardens in more than 30 abandoned lots, and they grow everything from swiss chard, to brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kale, cucumbers, and tomatoes - all totally accessible to the community for free. He made sure that these gardens are located throughout the community, so that all residents can go harvest them whenever they have need for food.
In addition to creating an important source of food, the gardens also play host to rescued honeybees. Due to the damaged condition of many homes, they often become infested with bees, and homeowners need a solution. Instead of calling an exterminator to destroy the beneficial insects, they can now call David. Using a low-suction vacuum, the urban farmer sucks up all of the bees, and transports them and their hives to his gardens. There they live freely among wildflowers and clover - and give back to their rescuer by pollinating his flowers and vegetables.
David sees his work as a simple example of how life should be: “If we all did our part, if we all did what we could for our community, to help one another, to help the environment as much as we could... can you imagine how peaceful and wonderful life would be?”