Humans and bees living in harmony

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Humans and bees living in harmony

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Let’s prepare “prix fixe menu C” or “set menu P” for dinner. Here, C and P stand for the major processed food producers, and people put fancy names as a joke for the meal prepared with ready-to-serve food products such as packaged rice, soup and side dishes. Urbanites today set the table with premade products. It has become a modern luxury to wash produce and cook fresh food.

The latest alternative trend is having a small vegetable garden in the city. I was so impressed when my friend, who calls himself an urban farmer, took me to his garden. The 100-square-foot garden was full of wormy vegetables. My friend uses completely organic farming methods with no pesticides, so worms naturally live in this garden. Some people make a small garden on their balcony or have a hydroponic system at home. Urban farming is a part of the lifestyle improvement movement to personally grow environmentally friendly and nutritious produce.

The pinnacle of urban agriculture is urban beekeeping. Beekeeping in the city is an attractive project. In addition to the honey, you get to enjoy the educational benefit of studying the ecosystem of the surrounding areas. Last year, honey was harvested from beehives on the roof of Seoul City Hall. In fact, urban beekeeping is spreading in the metropolitan cities around the world.

A few years ago, the Ginza Honeybee Project began in Tokyo. Originally, they wanted to install beehives on the roof of the Liberal Democrat Party headquarters, but due to security reasons, the base was set up at the Cultural Center in Nagatacho. Every year, more than 1,763 pounds of honey is harvested, and local department stores, hotels and bakeries make cookies with this honey. More than 400 beehives have been installed in Manhattan. Bees are busy gathering honey on the roof of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The metropolitan city with the largest amount of urban beekeeping is London, home of the 2012 Summer Olympics. More than 3,200 beehives have been set up downtown. Interestingly, the rooftops of the financial institutions offer the most friendly environment for bees. Hives fill the rooftop space of the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England. They are located in the busiest neighborhoods. Beehives can be found in department stores, hotels and office buildings, and bees gather honey from more than 100 parks.

A thriving bee community means the city offers a healthy environment for people as well. Even in the biggest and busiest metropolis, people have the right to breathe in green spaces. Of course, bees may be a nuisance if they approach any of the archers in the outdoor matches.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Chae In-taek

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