Man Creates Gardens for Unwanted Bees, Grows Free Food in 30 Abandoned Lots

Man Creates Gardens for Unwanted Bees, Grows Free Food in 30 Abandoned Lots

Fifteen years later, the Ninth Ward of New Orleans is one of the areas still struggling to recover from the massive destruction and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. [1] There are still so many abandoned and dilapidated buildings in the area, especially in the lower ward, and swarms of bees often end up causing a menace to people trying to repair their homes. 

However, killing bees is never a good option, especially not the honey bees. At a time when the global bee population is in such a serious decline that farmers now have to rent bees to pollinate their crops, the world can’t afford to lose any more bees. [2] These insects are important to food and agriculture since 87–90% of all animal-pollinated foods and a third of the global food supply is pollinated by bees. Billions of bees are dying yearly due to climate change, parasitic attacks, pesticide use, and generally, the industrialization of the agricultural sector. These important insects are declining dangerously and, sadly, they are still being lethally exterminated in some places.

Well, you can’t blame people trying to revitalize their homes and are getting swarmed by dozens of homeless bees.

Capstone Community Gardens

A man named David Young created a special sustainability garden to house all the unwanted bees in the Ninth Ward, instead of allowing the beneficial insects to be snuffed to death. Young owns the Capstone Community Gardens, an environmentally-friendly garden that aims to provide free food to low-income earners of his community and a haven for bees to thrive and re-populate.

The Lower Ninth Ward is said to be the most devastated after the hurricane, so badly destroyed that up till today, there are still no good grocery stores or food reservoirs in the area. Although a food pantry opens once a month to the public, it doesn’t exactly serve the needs or match the low budgets of some of the most vulnerable citizens.

Choosing 30 abandoned lots in the area, Young built the Capstone Garden a short while after the devastation, and today, they grow everything from mustard greens, and Brussel sprouts to cucumbers kale, and tomatoes. 

The best thing about Young’s garden is that all the food is completely free to members of the community, rationed out to everyone by the organization’s volunteers.

Speaking to Good News Network, volunteer Amy Kraus, explained why some of the poorest residents cannot rely on the monthly food bank for their survival. [3]

If you’re low-income, if you don’t have any money, if you have no way to support yourself, that is not enough to live off of. They give a small amount of food for the entire month,” said Kraus. “So David has made sure that these gardens are all over the community and people can go harvest them at any time, if they feel the need for the food — which I think is a wonderful thing.” 

Bees, goats, and egg-laying chickens 

When any member of the community has a bee infestation they are not happy about, they can call up Capstone and have the insects evacuated to a safer location. Young uses a low-suction vacuum to collect the bees and set them free in the garden, where they can live happily enough to pollinate the food crops for the community.

The garden is also home to a bunch of goats who find pleasure in eating up the overgrown bushes on some of the homes and abandoned lots.  

The other esteemed garden residents are the chickens who provide dozens of families with free eggs. Malnutrition is often a problem among the less-privileged in the area, and Capstone works hard to provide the people with all the necessary daily nutrients. 

“We’ll take the eggs that we collect from the chickens and we’ll take them to people — who, you know, either can’t get out of their house to get food for themselves, or they don’t have enough money,” added Kraus. “Just yesterday we delivered food bags with eggs, cabbage, spinach, and greens to those who needed it.”

Young’s vision for the garden has grown remarkably over the years, and the elderly man is repaid for his generosity with the knowledge that so many families in his community do not go to bed hungry.    

I call David the Santa Claus of Food because he seriously looks like Santa Claus,” Kraus said jokingly. “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, could you imagine how peaceful — how wonderful life — would be?”

Kudos to Young, Kraus, and all the volunteers selflessly serving humanity at Capstone.

At a time like this when even the most advanced countries of the world are terribly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, one can only wonder how the poorer areas would cope. You can visit Capstone’s website or Facebook page to find out more and donations and volunteering.

References

  1. Why the Lower Ninth Ward Looks Like the Hurricane Just Hit.” The Nation. Gary Rivlin. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  2. Nearly 40% decline in honey bee population last winter ‘unsustainable,’ experts say.” ABC News. Julia Jacobo. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  3. Man Creates Gardens For Unwanted Bees, Grows Free Food in 30 Abandoned Lots.” Good News Network. McKinley Corbley. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  4. Capstone 118
  5. Capstone 118
#Incredible People #Uplifting