JANESVILLE

Janesville residents could soon have a city ordinance allowing backyard beekeeping.

With that in mind, the Sustainable Janesville Committee decided to make the pollinators and honey producers the focal point of its annual Sustainable Living Fair, which will be held downtown this weekend.

The family friendly event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Voigt Music Center, 34 S. Main St. Admission is free and will include kids activities.

This is the fair’s fourth year. It highlights local businesses that promote sustainable practices and offers insights for how people can be better environmental caretakers at home, committee Chairman Aaron Aegerter said.

Previous themes included water conservation and shoreline restoration in the wake of Monterey Dam removal.

Although a planned beekeeping demonstration won’t happen because of a scheduling conflict, the event will provide education on how to implement beekeeping in backyards. The ordinance that would regulate the practice will be presented to the city council in April for possible approval, Aegerter said.

Saturday’s fair also will focus on natural yard landscaping, which has its own pending ordinance. It would allow residents to replace their traditional grass lawns with natural prairie plants.

Right now, prairie plants are limited to 10 percent of a yard. The ordinance would eliminate that restriction, and front yard gardens would be allowed as long as they occupy less than half the lawn, Aegerter said.

The natural landscaping ordinance follows state and city guidelines, and residents would still need to comply with height and plant species regulations, he said. No corn, for example.

A more natural yard habitat requires less watering and reduces carbon emissions from lawnmowers. It also helps attract bees and improves their health, Aegerter said.

The natural landscaping ordinance will likely reach the city council in May.

Besides learning about those ordinances, visitors to the sustainability fair can learn about composting practices. Janesville recently enacted backyard composting regulations, and city officials will share information about how to compost, he said.

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