Urban Bee, a Capitol Hill honey producer, creates small biz buzz

Beekeeping in Capitol Hill has kept Urban Bee owner Bob Redmond busy as a … well, you know.

With seven years under the netted hood and 15 apiaries in backyards across the city, the 18th Ave E headquartered Urban Bee has turned into a neighborhood institution. It supplies local, naturally grown honey to various Capitol Hill retailers, runs a bicycle-delivered CSA for subscribers and even has a nonprofit arm that spreads information about ecological sustainability and restoration.

“I didn’t start it with a big business in mind,” Redmond said. “By two years, we were in eight spots. Hives themselves are scattered all around the city. But we process all the honey here in Capitol Hill.”

It started with friends, and friends of friends, offering up their backyards around the city to housing bee hives. Now, Redmond runs Urban Bee with two part time employees and, “very informally,” his wife and three-year-old son. Continue reading

12th Ave communal development residents plan Rooftop Farm to showcase urban agriculture

original_ground-breakingThe neighbors of 12th Ave’s Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing where each resident is an equal member of the company that owns the project are watching their building rise on the street where ground was broken on their communal development last fall.

As construction reaches the fourth floor, the group is launching a crowdfunding campaign to create a rooftop garden for the project as a community exhibition of hyperlocal farming involving Seattle Central Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program:

Through outreach and partnership, it is our goal to use this farm to benefit our surrounding community as much as possible. We expect the programs we set up to evolve and expand as the farm becomes more established. In our first year the farm will be managed by volunteers and interns from Seattle Central Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program. We plan to lead free monthly tours for the public, and education workshops for children. We also plan to have an outreach stand at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market in order to share our project with the larger community. We will sell a portion of our organic produce to neighboring restaurant, Lark, in order to cover the cost of operating year-round. We will also donate produce to neighboring food banks or meal programs. We will establish and nourish partnerships with other interested restaurants and organization in our community.

The Rooftop Farm will serve the building’s residents but they are hoping with community support to make the project into a larger vision. “As one of Seattle’s fastest-growing and most densely populated neighborhoods, Capitol Hill provides a unique opportunity for us to grow together through urban farming expansion, awareness and education,” they write. “The intent of our farm in the city is to educate local children, and the general public, about the benefits of hyper-local food production, to demonstrate what a successful year-round organic rooftop farm looks like, and to act as a catalyst for the creation of a Capitol Hill food network—one which will connect neighbors, local restaurants, and local organizations around local food production.”

The goal is $10,000. As of Friday morning, nearly $4,000 has been raised.

You can learn more and give on The Rooftop Farm Barnraiser page.