Man Grew Gardens to Save Unwanted Bees and People on Lots Abandoned After Katrina
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Man saves bees targeted for extermination by growing food for all on lots that were abandoned after Hurricane Katrina
One man has pulled a 180 on one of the poorest, abandoned areas. The Ninth Ward of New Orleans never recovered after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina over a decade ago.
But David Young changed all that. He took 30 abandoned lots and turned them into a lush haven for bees – and the city’s poor – to enjoy nothing but abundance.
Because the buildings and other infrastructure were so dilapidated, they became infested with bees that were seeking a habitat. Instead of the typical solution of calling an exterminator – David’s solution was a win-win-win.
He carefully rescued the bees from homes and buildings with a low-suction vacuum, and employed them in his community gardens. They are unwitting co-creators in the food that anyone who is hungry can enjoy at any time. They live freely among the clover and wild flowers. Now, when unwanted bees are discovered, the people call Young instead of an exterminator.
Young’s efforts aren’t a one-off good deed. His volunteer organization, Capstone Community Gardens, helps low-income residents – and honeybees – all year round.
After Katrina’s destruction, he went to work. His 30+ lot gardens grow Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. All is free and accessible to the community. These gardens are especially important since food banks do not provide enough sustenance for each person and they are often understocked or not open all the time in today’s economy. Food banks traditionally provide processed and boxed food that may fill bellies, but lacks the nutrition of Young’s fresh-picked foods.
Capstone volunteer Amy Kraus expanded on the food bank problem to Good News Network:
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 – 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.
There are no good grocery stores around this area. The Lower Ninth Ward is the area that was devastated the most – the worst of the worst.
Goats and chickens have a home at Capstone, too. They are fed by the land and give back by consuming overgrown grass and providing eggs to hungry people, respectively. Kraus says that they deliver goods to people who can’t get out of their homes or get food for themselves. They provide bags full of eggs, spinach, greens and cabbage.