I never imagined that I would be able to stand so close to a beehive, never mind the prospect of being able to harvest honey with my own two hands. But this is possible now that 50,000 native New Zealand honey bees have taken up residence on our very own rooftop garden in the Olympic Village. It turns out that beekeeping is one of the latest green living trends.
Beekeeping in Vancouver
There are, in fact, many beehives situated in our urban landscape. From the 80,000+ honeybees that live right on the roof of City Hall to Montessori school programs and Downtown East Side projects like the Portland Hotel, Hives for Humanity is breaking down barriers and building more hives each year in the city. It’s more than just green living, it’s building a better city.
All in a Bee’s Work
The work that Hives for Humanity is doing in Vancouver is good news for those of us who are growing food to feed our families in Vancouver. Bees are an integral part of the ecosystem. As you may know from news reports lately, they are in short supply. In fact, Canadian beekeepers are reporting as much as seventy percent of their overwinter bees did not survive. How does this impact us?
Without bees, we may be forced to create jobs in which people hand pollinate the plants and trees that provide us food. Not a nice prospect. It seems to me, if we want to contribute to providing a sustainable future for our kids and for future generations, we need to take a look at what we can do to help the bees. It’s the next step in green living.
Beekeeping is for Kids Too
In his short lifetime, my son has already developed a fascination for bees. I’m not sure where it comes from. Maybe he relates to the busy-ness of a bee’s work. He’s forever running and jumping, never sitting still for long. The day I introduced him to the beehive on our rooftop it was as if he had found his calling. He was so excited but at the same time, completely mesmerized. It was a wonderful scene.
Here was my busy little man, barely three years old standing near the hive, talking quietly to the bees and observing them arriving home, bodies heavy with their latest pollen harvest. I think we might have a future beekeeper on our hands. What a nice idea.
Therapeutic Green Living
Hives for Humanity’s mission is to bring beehives to the Downtown East Side where residents can benefit from this connection with nature. I can see why. When you are in the company of bees, you have to keep calm and, well, carry on. Apparently, bees can recognize your face and whether your intention is good or otherwise. They don’t like to be disturbed and you just have to respect that.
Can I Keep Bees?
Urban beekeeping is an excellent way to improve pollination for plants in backyard, community, and public gardens, which leads to better vegetable production. With good management practices, beekeeping is completely safe in residential areas.
If you and your family are interested in keeping bees in your yard there are couple of things you need to do. First of all you need to review your city’s beekeeping guidelines and then you need to register your beehive with the Province of BC. The City of Vancouver has guidelines set out on their website as part of their goal to help Vancouver be one of the world’s most sustainable cities. As you know, City Hall loves to promote green living.
For more information, go to Vancouver.ca.
Hives for Humanity
Leeanne Ekland is a stay-at-home mom of one, who’s on a mission to rediscover love, wellness, and neighbourhood happenings and to have a ton of fun. She's also a lover of wine and yoga and believes that sharing her experiences at www.MomParadigm.com brings her closer to living her best life. Having started the parenting experience much later than most, she offers a unique perspective on the challenges and all that is amazing about being a mom over 40.