We have become fascinated in recent months with the open expansion of beekeeping as a hobby. While we stress to everyone to educate yourself on every aspect of this hobby before jumping in with both feet, we are extremely excited so many people and so many inner cities are now interested in this hobby. The latest major city to join in on the fun of urban beekeeping is Detroit, Michigan.
Timothy Paule Jackson became infatuated with bees back in 2016. Oddly enough, it was a bad cold that would drive his love of honey and honey bees. Jackson had worked in photography and advertising, but he and his partner, Nicole Lindsey, saw a huge opportunity with all the vacant lots in the Detroit area. Jackson stated, “We were born and raised in Detroit…so we see (vacant lots) everywhere we go.”
In 2017, they pitched their idea to a local crowdfunding source and were given $1,600 to start their project. That enabled them to buy a plot of land and three beehives. That was all that was needed to get Detroit Hives up and running. The two are not alone on this endeavor anymore, either. As there is now a second non-profit group joining Detroit Hives to convert these empty lots around the city into something useful. In addition to their efforts, urban gardens are popping up all over the city. In all, they estimate there are now about 200 hives operating around Detroit.
The data on this is mixed, though, as most urban beekeeping operations go mostly undocumented, so it is hard to give a firm number on how these projects are helping the overall honey bee population throughout the country. Even so, the Honey Bee Conservancy estimated that more than 10 million honey bees are now living in this type of environment throughout the United States.
As researchers continue to identify the challenges leading to a rapidly declining bee population, Jackson believes there is just one key to keeping honey bees thriving on this planet. He stated, “I really think it is all about the education and the importance of pollinators, how it’s so important to our food systems – especially in Detroit, one of the most insecure food cities.” There is a bit more to it than that, but we also firmly believe the more education, especially in bigger cities where both adults and children tend to only be exposed to bees after they have stirred up a hive, is vital. The more people we can make unafraid of bees, the less likely they are to kill them in panic.
Source: Environmental Health News