The Homesteader

When Megan Paska moved from Baltimore to Brooklyn in 2006, she knew she wanted to keep up her gardening and beekeeping, but she wasn’t sure she’d have the space— or her landlord’s approval. “I knew it would be a challenge, but I didn’t think it would be impossible,” she says. Now, five years later, she’s enjoying the city life, along with her beehives, seasonal backyard garden and chickens. From canning to baking, Paska also likes the culinary side of food production. Her family’s 450-acre farm in Virginia is a big source of inspiration for Paska's city-based homesteading. “Everyone in my family, in some capacity, has always grown some of their own food,” she explains. Even in America’s most crowded city, Paska has carried on this family tradition.

Urban Homesteading: A Closer Look

  • Paska’s 10 rooftop beehives produce between 80 and 150 pounds of honey per season.
  • Paska’s egg-laying hens are named Buddy, Noodle, Dumpling and Pierogi, in honor of the Polish neighborhood where she lives.
  • Rooftop hives in New York were illegal until May 2010, when New York City’s board of health lifted a ban against beekeeping.
  • Paska also organizes food swaps, where she trades her honey and other homemade provisions with up to 40 other epicurean enthusiasts.