5 Sure-Fire Ways to Bring Nature into Your Neighborhood [LIST]

Insert some greenery and wildlife into your everyday surroundings

May 15, 2014
Special Collections: STRANGERS TO NEIGHBORS

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What comes to mind when thinking of nature and the great outdoors? Hopefully - your neighborhood. But if this is not the case - check out these five ways to invoke a bit of Mother Nature and greenery into your surroundings.

1. PLANT YOUR OWN FOOD FOREST

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: As it turns out, the options for growing food are numerous: food can be planted in the back of trucks, on the top of buses, and in your own backyard. This infographic sheds some light on the technology of backyard farming and there is a plethora of resources to get you started like Farming in the City and HarvestGeek.
TAKE NOTE: Seattle is on its way to creating its first ever public food forest, and there’s the self sufficient Dervaes family who have dedicated their lives to urban farming. But Ron Finley shines as a true inspiration with his sprawling food garden set in South Los Angeles. Watch his beautiful and simple approach to life and gardening below.

2. BUILD A BEEHIVE (AND HELP THE PLANET!)

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Over the past eight years an unexplained phenomena has occurred: over one-third of all bee colonies have vanished. Open Source Beehives project comes to the rescue, leading a collaborative effort to design hives that can sustainably support bee colonies. Anyone can get the design for a high-tech beehive for free and bring the bees back to your ‘hood.
TAKE NOTE: Rob and Chelsea McFarland are on a mission to protect honeybees and legalize urban beekeeping with their Los Angeles based nonprofit HoneyLove. Through education, training and spreading awareness, bees are getting a voice and experiencing a much-needed come back to our streets.

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3. CREATE COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROJECTS TO SPRUCE UP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD 

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Standing for “in our back yard,” ioby is a nonprofit that doubles as a crowdfunding website and resource organizer for environmental projects in urban locations. ioby mobilizes local projects funded by small donations from residents, who in turn, can get their hands dirty and volunteer by greening up their living spaces.
TAKE NOTE: In Miami ioby people are transforming chain link fences into chalkboards in an effort to create more public art and expression. In Pittsburgh folks are coming together to construct a shared garden space specifically geared to kids, educating them about how healthy food grows.

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4. GUERRILLA GARDEN IN THE URBAN JUNGLE

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Steven Wheen , AKA London’s Pothole Gardener, goes around filling empty concrete spaces with patches of green and even miniatures. Wheen is also a filmmaker and documents people’s reactions to encountering his most unexpected gardening creations in the middle of the street.
TAKE NOTE: Creativity is the name of the game, and with minimal materials, streets and sidewalks can experience a burst of fresh flowers, shrubbery or greens.

5. CREATE AN ANIMAL-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD ZONE

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: To embrace our furry and flying creatures, there are fun measures that you can take to make your neighborhood an inviting place for all. One example: create a mecca for birds with your own DIY bird feeder creations - your kids will love this too. 
TAKE NOTE: Merge your animal curiosity with creativity by contributing to the worldwide photographic initiative Meet Your Neighbours. Founded in 2009, the project encourages people to take photos of wildlife in their own backyards - which are collaboratively featured in this grassroots online photography exhibit.

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