Urban Beekeeping

The Urban Beekeeping movement is exciting, promising and growing rapidly!

Cities and municipalities all over the world are accepting Beekeeping as a necessary practice in their cities to increase food security and environmental stability.

In Canada alone Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Vernon, and Fernie are implementing bylaws that allow honeybees in their Urban centers. In the spring of 2010 Vancouver city hall put two hives on its rooftop 

Image above Allen Garr Beekeeping on top of Vancouver city hall

Toronto Opera House installed two hives on its rooftop

“The planet is losing honeybees at an alarming rate and we are happy to provide a place for them atop our opera house, More than anything, we wanted to take one small step towards helping the bee population recover its numbers. It’s completely vital to the future of the planet.” – says COC’s general director Alexander Neef.

Internationally Bees are kept in dense cities like Hong Kong.

Michael Leung is the founder and creative director of HK Honey. He also runs a multi-disciplinary design studio in Hong Kong called Studio Leung. Before establishing HK Honey in July 2010, Michael became Hong Kong’s first urban beekeeper. For more info view Hong Kong Honeys beautifully designed website: http://www.hkhoney.org/home.html

Paris has kept Bee Hives on its Opera rooftop for more then 25 years

Dublin, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Japan, Montreal, and Russia are all on the rise with Urban Beekeeping.

The benefits are endless once you begin listing them, pollination services are increased in the cities by %500 and most blooms will not bear fruit without these important pollination services. Thousands more gardens, flowers and trees are pollinated with bee hives near by. People are able to produce their own Honey, knowing exactly what it contains. Too often Honey is mislabeled on the shelves “Honey” from china laced with corn syrup can slip through the labeling loop holes and be sold as “Canadian Honey”. Even the Canadian Honey can be contaminated with pesticides, GMOs, and sugar syrups. The only way to know what you are getting is to know the Beekeeper yourself or produce your own Honey. Allowing Bees in the cities creates genetic diversity combating the issues of having to ship in bees from all over the world and making it possible to increase local healthy genetics for increasing populations.

The Bees have shown to actually thrive in Urban settings even above that of the Rural bees. The reasons for this is that there have been studies to conclude that The Urban centers are far more diverse in pollen and nectar sources. Up to a thousand varying pollen sources have been counted in Urban areas where as few as 10 sources have been found in Rural areas. This drastic difference can influence health in a variety of ways, think about only eating a few items of food in your entire diet! you would lack in basic essential nutrients. Another contributing factor on bee health is the fact most cities have pesticide limits or bans allowing the bees to forage on non contaminated non toxic food.

Because of the warmer temperatures of the cities bees remain active for longer periods of time allowing them to gather more forage.

Another factor is the diversity of plants because of the city plans for planting in continual blooms so that all season there is always something in bloom. A luxury that the Rural areas can lack due to mono cultures and other agriculture practices that do not allow for diversity, loss of habitat, herbicide and pesticide spraying ect.

As cities move towards sustainable community living green the city projects have sprouted up everywhere. Edible landscaping, permaculture, rooftop gardens, community gardens, balcony and vertical growing methods, and of course Bee Keeping!!! are all becoming a part of the Urban lifestyle.  A connection with how we are meant to live becomes more desirable as the movement spreads and touches us.

The Queens Bees Project is currently working on amending the Bylaw in our nearest city Nelson, BC. a city filled with gardeners and bee food everywhere! I’m calling all Bee lovers..in fact all food lovers to get together and tell your city council why you want Bees in your city and how we can all benefit from this action. Write letters of support, show up in council meetings…let them know we are not going away and we are not going to let our bees go away either!!

This is a copy of the information I sent to the Nelson City Council Prior to my presentation on June 27th 2011:

Nelson City council members,

Attached below is some information I have gathered to support my views on the benefits and necessity of allowing honeybees in urban centers. My resources for information in my presentation are below, I have condensed them into a 5 minute presentation however I want to include as much information to you as possible for a broader understanding of the issues. I will be sending my powerpoint presentation to you shortly to view prior as well.

I want to thank you for this opportunity to present to you on June 27th and look forward to meeting you all then.

All the best,

Christina Yahn

Below is the press release and full report from the United Nations Environmental Program
Launch: Thursday 10 March: 9.30am, Press Room 1, Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva

A new UNEP report will show that bee colonies worldwide are under threat, with serious implications for biodiversity and food security.

The report – ‘Global Honey Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators’ – finds that multiple factors are responsible for declines in bee populations. These include habitat deterioration, air pollution, crop spraying and the widespread use of insecticides in plant cultivation.

The report finds that tens of thousands of plant species could be lost in coming years unless conservation efforts are stepped up.

The decline of bee populations has serious consequences for food security. Pollination is critical for flower and seed production and vital to the health of ecosystems. As many crops depend solely on pollinators for survival, the well-being of pollinating insects such as bees is critical for ensuring the availability of food for a growing global population.

here is the link to the full report:http://www.unep.org/dewa/Portals/67/pdf/Global_Bee_Colony_Disorder_and_Threats_insect_pollinators.pdf

 

http://www.vernon.ca/images/uploads/council/bylaws/4987_bee_keeping.pdf – Regulations on keeping Bees in Vernon


Below are links on Urban beekeeping sites and articles:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/bees/urban-beekeeping-guidelines-0602 – Guidelines for keeping healthy bees and happy neighbors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8JayhLkJJE – VIDEO beekeeping in the city
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vancouverconvention/sets/72157622462147589/ – Bees are kept successfully in downtown Vancouver. Click here to see rooftop bees in Vancouver

http://www.backyardbees.ca/ – Backyard beekeeping is growing in Calgary. Click here for Apiaries Bees and Communities

http://www.honeycouncil.ca/documents/ChicagoCoop0209.pdf – Chicago is embracing urban beekeeping.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/bees/bees-white-house-garden-88032302 – The first lady Michelle Obama has introduced bees to the white house garden

http://www.cityfarmer.org/VancBees.html – Vancouver British Columbia allows beekeeping.

http://urbanworkbench.com/bees-and-animal-bylaws/#axzz1Parvn9dP – Blog for urban beekeepers in Canada –  from the Canadian Honey Council website.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/urban-beekeeping-47093003 – Photos of urban Beekeeping

Other related links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/16/crucial-role-cities-honey-bee

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/08/big-city-bees-healthier-more-productive.php

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/06/hk-honey-hong-kong-first-urban-beekeepers.php

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/bees-colony-collapse-disorder-kate-kunath.php

http://www.bees-online.com/CityRoof.htm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/honey-im-home/article772633/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=urban-beekeeping-pollinators

http://outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/citybees.htm

A leaked Document from the EPA was released stating that the EPA scientists concluded in their field studies that Clothianidin a chemical produced by Bayer is highly toxic to Honey Bees. http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/Memo_Nov2010_Clothianidin.pdf

This is a very interesting site on Honeybees: http://www.andrewgough.co.uk/bee1_1.html

I know it is a lot of information to digest, however it shows the level of international support for this type of progressive movement for the future health of ourselves and the earth.

Thank you again for this opportunity please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I will be sending my powerpoint to you before June 22nd and any other information before Monday June 20th.

All the best,

Christina Yahn

The Queens Bees Project
“Bee The Change”
www.thequeensbeesproject.com

9 months later and still nothing has come out of it, however I am not giving up on this and I ask that you dont either. Please send letters of support, Phone the City Council and stay informed on the progress. Below is  the mayor all the City Council members contact information.

Dooley, John Mayor Phone Number
250-354-9615
email
Adams, Bob Councillor Phone Number
250-352-9526
email
Batycki, Candace Councillor Phone Number
250-352-3830
email
Cherbo, Robin Councillor Phone Number
250-354-4819
email
Kiss, Paula Councillor Phone Number
250-509-1180
email
Kozak, Deb Councillor Phone Number
250-352-9383
email
Macdonald, Donna Councillor Phone Number
250-352-8263
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3 Responses to Urban Beekeeping

  1. By-laws in Toronto have not been changing. While urban beekeeping there is possible, the laws make it very difficult. More info here: http://www.beekeeping.isgood.ca/resources/urban-beekeeping-in-toronto/

    • Thank you for sharing this link and article! I am really inspired by what you are doing in Toronto, and always wonderful to connect with a fellow bee friend 🙂 Its good to know that the regulations have been difficult, something to consider for Nelson putting regulations in. I’ll post your site on my other social media, keep up the great work!

  2. Pingback: Research: The Queens Bees Project | Cecil Brady | CDM Blog

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