Beekeeping: The Next Urban Adventure
Gotham beekeepers no longer have to keep their hives hidden. The New York City Department of Health lifted the ban on beekeeping yesterday, to the glee of an increasing number of urban bee farmers who want to produce their own honey.
“Lately, bees have picked up political cache among a growing number of green-minded folk interested in seeing organic agriculture return to big American cities,” writes the Associated Press. “The movement to end the ban picked up after Michelle Obama had a hive installed on the South Lawn of the White House.”
New York is not the only metropolitan area where beekeepers are tending to urban hives. Paris, Toronto, San Francisco, and Chicago are also home to city bees.
“Like the honeybee itself, urban beekeepers are a ‘small but mighty’ group, says fourth-generation beekeeper Andrew Coté, founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association. With so much buzz about colony collapse disorder (CCD), even those who live far from the farms and orchards are pitching in to beef up the nation's bee populations (while reaping some sweet rewards for themselves),” according to an article in Scientific American.
In the windy city, the Chicago Honey Co-op manages a bee farm on a property that used to be owned by Sears-Roebuck. In an article written in Orion magazine, the coop farm manager, Michael S. Thompson, writes that, “at the request of Chicago’s mayor Richard Daley, we have even installed and maintain for the city eight beehives on three public buildings downtown. We harvest the honey from the hives and give it back to the city to sell in three of their stores, the proceeds of which support various cultural activities run by the city. We find growing food in Chicago the most natural thing to do as the climate in the Upper Midwest is perfect for it, and there are many appreciative people interested in our work.”
Beekeepers in New York will have to register their hives with the city, probably to settle complaints. But honeybees generally don’t bother humans, and, according to the health department, “responsible urban beekeeping does not pose a public health issue.” And that’s got beekeepers abuzz.!--/end tags-->