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Entries in urban beekeeping (10)


Urban Honey from The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto

Toronto downtown, view from my roomI'm back in Toronto at the moment. I'll be on Global TV morning news around 7:30 a.m. EST, then I've got some meetings around town. I also hope to visit a couple of urban agriculture projects that I wrote about in the book.

One of the first interviews I did for my book, in fact, was my friend David Garcelon, executive chef at the Fairmont Royal York and pioneer rooftop beekeeper. David's honeybee hives were the first in the Fairmont chain, which now has hives at several of its properties. (And David is now the Director of Culinary at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. And yes, there are bees on the rooftop there now too.) Here's my post about David's bees from the Foodgirl blog archives from 2010.

The bees at the Fairmont Royal York are on the 14th storey rooftop and they forage on the rooftop herb garden and well beyond.

Upon check-in, I received a lovely little gift of a jar of the Sept 2011 Royal York honey. It's very dark, like buckwheat honey. I haven't tasted it yet, but will when I get it back home safe and sound.

Harvested Sept 2011 from the hives on the rooftop of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario



Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto, Canada Aug 15-18, 2012

I'm very pleased to be a speaker at the up-coming Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto. This is a major urbanag confererence in a city that has been at the forefront of fostering and using urban agriculture to build and rebuild healthy communities for a couple of decades.


There will be 75+ presentations from urban ag experts from Canada, the US and beyond. Will Allen, founder of Growing Power Inc. and author of The Good Food Revolution, is one of the major keynotes at this conference. Plus workshops and hands-on field trips galore pre- and post-summit.

I will be presenting my slideshow and talk on the history of urban farming in Paris in the mid-1800s and London (UK) today in 2012 in the session on Thursday morning, from 10:30 to noon.

Best Practices from Chicago Paris, London and New York
 A Tale of Two Edible Cities: 19th-century Paris and London 2012
Presenter: Jennifer Cockrall-King, Author of Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution (Prometheus Books, 2012), Independent food writer
Healthy Food Chicago
Presenter: Bradley Roback, Coordinator of Economic Development, City of Chicago
Innovative Urban Agriculture Policy: Lessons from New York City
Presenter: Nevin Cohen, Assistant Professor, The New School
Moderator: Andrea Winkler, Registered Professional Planner, Urban Strategies Inc

Here is the Urban Agriculture Summit's site with detailed program information as well as registration costs and forms.

Drop me a line if you will be there.


Megacity Honey by Eric Tourneret, bee photographer

I just came across an online exhibition of French urban bee photographer, Eric Tourneret's exposition called Megacity Honey.

And that reminded me of his excellent site where he posts incredible shots of beekeepers and bees from his travels around the world at The Bee Photographer.

I was priviledged to be able to use one of Eric's photos in my book. It's on page 101 and the black and white print in the book doesn't do the photo justice.



Urban Bees on the rooftop of the Waldorf-Astoria, NYC

Executive Chef David Garcelon on his rooftop herb garden at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Canada, Sept 2009I've known chef David Garcelon for almost 15 years now. Since we met when he was the executive chef at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, he's move on to the Fairmont Royal York, and now he's the Director of Culinary (ie. executive chef) at the Waldorf-Astoria. His love of food and gardening has also made him the chef who is leading the chef-beekeeper trend in North American hotels.

This spring, just as my book was hitting the shelves, David made a great video to congratulate me on the publication of Food and the City. I wrote about his bees at the Fairmont Royal York in the chapter 6. Technically, this chapter is about Paris, but there's a sub-section on urban beekeeping and so I shoe-horned the story about David's 14th floor rooftop bees at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto into the "Paris" chapter.

A couple of weeks ago, David's beekeeping program at the Waldorf-Astoria hit the papers both in Canada and in the US. Here's an excerpt and a link to the story.

"If all goes well, there could be as many as 300,000 bees camping out at the Waldorf this summer." -- excerpt from a recent article about the rooftop bees at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. Read the article.

And here's David Garcelon with his video message to me, shot in February, just before the bees arrived on the rooftop of the hotel.



Greenroofs in Paris, via

Copyright: Nature Capitale – A creation by Gad Weil Photo credit : Nature Capitale/Resolute D.R.Paris surprised me last year when I visited to poke around looking for signs of urban agriculture. (Perhaps because I had no expectations, I was totally impressed by what I saw. In fact, it turned out to be the lead chapter of main part of my book on the various cities at the forefront of urban agriculture that I visited.)

First of all, Paris is where many of the elements that we use today in modern urban agriculture came the mid-19th century. (Paris' maraicher district was the primary urban gardening zone of the city...and it was so successful and productive that all over France, urban and peri-urban market gardeners are known as maraichers / maraicheres.)

Today, Paris has a very active urban beekeeping scene. The fact that pesticide use in the city limits has been illegal for over a decade might be a significant element of the success of Paris' urban bee hives. It's also not a city I associate with community gardens, but I found a fantastic one just around the corner from my friends' flat and met a wonderful community gardener, M. Griffault. Here's my post from last October about Paris' urban agriculture.

It's not just food that Parisians are growing...there are around 10 urban vineyards in right in the city, and 132 in the greater Paris metropolitain area.

Today, via a report by Alex Davies on, it seems that Paris is going to surge ahead with 80,000 square yards of green roofs and rooftop gardens by 2020.

Félicitations, Paris!