Honey, Bees and Life

We’ve heard so much lately about the importance of maintaining healthy colonies of bees. That’s why it’s so nice to be able to say that the unlikely locale of Vancouver’s downtown eastside is home to one of the most productive hives around. But that’s not the sweetest part of this story.  Julia Common, a hobbyist beekeeper introduced the hive to the Hastings Urban Farm with the hope that tending to the bees would prove cathartic and inspiring for members of this perceived 'marginalized' community. Her initial effort was such a resounding success she was able to form Hives for Humanity with the first round of profits. She and her daughter have been able to expand onto rooftop garden space and other urban reclaimed greenspace. The community members who work hands on with the hive, many of whom struggle with addiction and poverty, say it’s not only enriched their lives but has imparted a real respect for the bees and the garden in others.  As we can see in this video, it has given people a feeling of purpose while providing ecological benefits to the surrounding area, and profits for a much needed and greatly impactful charity. And that, in a nutshell (or a beehive), is the great strength of community agricultural initiatives. There is a sense of deep rooted calm and a sense of pride, in caring for and nurturing our own food sources. If it can help even some of the most disenfranchised members of our communities to feel important and involved, imagine the impact programs similar to Hives for Humanity could have on our children, and us. 


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