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An urban apiary is a place in the city where beehives are kept. These apiaries are often found in backyards and even on roof tops. This allows for small scale honey bee colonies to pollinate urban gardens.

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Honey House

Honey House

Honey House

Location: The Honey House, Ballard Bee Company, Seattle, Washington
Featuring: Corky Luster

Corky says: “Honey around the entractor, honey on the door, honey on my left boot that is now on the hardwoods upstairs, honey on the cat’s back, honey on the dog’s tail, honey on the computer key boards...guess this is truly a honey house."

"Why bee hives? To be part of the solution. When I think how strong of an impact something the size of a small file cabinet can have not only for a yard, a neighborhood, and perhaps beyond my own piece of dirt I call my city ...it really makes sense to me.”

Where does this honey come from?
Corky places his 135 hives atop a downtown hotel, in a parking lot, on a few restaurant rooftops, in dozens of neighborhood backyards and even at a few farms just outside the city.

I. Remove frames (a Langstroth hive holds ten frames per box)
II. "Uncap" honeycomb cut off excess wax with a “capping knife”. (These trimmings will be sold later as beeswax)
III. Radical extractor It spins quickly; centrifugal force expels honey from the uncapped frames.
IV. Strain Some people filter their honey using heat and high pressure. Corky strains his “raw honey”.
V. Pour into jars
VI. Distribute Corky at work in his Seattle garage House Gargae (when full a frame is “fully-capped” or “ripe”)

Families across Seattle host Corky's hives in their own backyards. They pay a monthly fee to place two to four hives on their property. In return they receive one 22 ounce jar of honey a month. By making consumers part of the process, Corky shows them how to gain control over what they eat, how to lower their carbon footprint, and how to work toward building a food system that functions at a human scale. One that is local and knowable.

“Urban beekeeping,” Corky says, “Is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changing how people think."

Urban Apiary

Urban Apiary

Douglas Gayeton for Lexicon of Sustainability

Urban Apiary

Location: Brooklyn Rooftop Honey, Brooklyn, NYC

Featuring: Jon and Eddie

Eve Felder’s bees in Duchess County inspired Jon. He’d always assumed that one day he would live out in the country with a small garden and bees close by. He never considered keeping bees in the city (hethought the noise and pollution would keep the bees from doing their jobs). Then his friend Brandon had the idea to put them on the roof above Roberta’s garden. When they began beekeeping was illegal in New York...now they get ten gallons from each hive.

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