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Tag Archives | backwards beekeepers

VICTORY IN REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA!!
by Ed Garcia

Before last night’s city council meeting, bees were categorized as a de-facto “nuisance” by the municipal code. Last night that changed :) A group of BBK’s came to the city council meeting to support my petition for a permit allowing me to keep a hive and in a team effort we were able to persuade the city council to get with the times and allow individuals to keep bees. Thank you all so much for making this happen. 

After a very lengthy meeting that started at 6PM, our issue finally came to the floor at nearly 10 PM. Representatives from Redondo Beach Animal Control summarized their position which was formally submitted in a 12 page report. In essence they were agreeable to granting the permit subject to a variety of requirements, including the approval of my neighbors. 

Then it was our turn. Members of the city council asked a variety of questions that we were able to answer based on the knowledge that we’ve absorbed through BBK and our individual experiences with the bees. It all wrapped nicely at the end when the city council unanimously agreed to adopt the measure that in essence removed bees from the list of “nuisances” and allowed individuals to keep bees. Additionally, the city council agreed to remove the requirement of “approval by neighbors” and even to lower the fee for the permit that was proposed by animal control. In all I would say it was a victory for all beekeepers. 

I would like to acknowledge all the support and guidance provided by Kirk, the use of the material compiled by Rob and Chelsea [HoneyLove] and the fine example they set with their efforts in Mar Vista, the enthusiasm and participation of Susan, Roberta, Dennis and Randy. You guys Rock!

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HONEYLOVER OF THE MONTH: Susan
BEES RESCUED FROM: Water Meter in Marina del Rey!
 

SUSAN: “I am thoroughly enchanted with the bee world—-its history, organization, evolution with mankind, and tenacity in the city. Now, everywhere I go I talk about bees and beekeeping and converse with others about the importance of bees. I love how the bees complete a relationship I already had with botany and plants, food and animals—-a wider world all connected.”

ROB (HoneyLove): “One of the things I love most about beekeeping is mentoring new-bees and getting to watch them fall in love with bees. It makes you fall in love all over again. Getting to experience this with Susan was especially great due to her tremendous passion, and capacity to learn and innovate. She has been one of the most active HoneyLovers, joining us at a spectrum of events, from our 2011 National Honey Bee Awareness Day, to our Honey Tasting workshop. Since then, Susan has been seen buzzing all over town, rescuing bees from every conceivable location and situation. I’m proud to say that Susan has become a tremendous beekeeper, mentor, and HoneyLover.”
 

Click here to see photos from SUSAN’S FIRST BEE RESCUE!

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TONIGHT ATWATER VILLAGE UNANIMOUSLY VOTED IN FAVOR OF URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES - That makes 7 councils so far!! Up next - Studio City!!

PLEASE SIGN OUR NEW PETITION: 
http://www.change.org/petitions/legalize-urban-beekeeping-in-los-angeles-2

Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils that officially support our urban beekeeping motion so far!! ? 
1. Mar Vista (11/8/11)
2. Del Rey (12/8/11)
3. Greater Griffith Park (1/17/12)
4. South Robertson (1/19/12)
5. Silver Lake (3/7/12)
6. Hollywood United (3/19/12) 
7. Atwater Village (4/12/12) 

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ARTICLE: Buzzing for community development

Community organization and selfless dedication are the traits of the honeybee. The Calgary Hive Mentality Project aims to provide this perspective by hosting educators from across North America to address the importance of bees as a conduit for community development. 

The speaker series began on March 16 with Kirk Anderson, one of the founders of North America’s largest urban beekeepers’ association, and Los Angeles’s most wanted swarm catcher.

“When I first got into bees there was a big back-to-the-land movement in the late ’60s, early ’70s, but I couldn’t afford to go back to the land because I had a bunch of kids to raise,” said Anderson. 

So instead, Anderson bought some mail-order bees and put them in his mother’s backyard, pioneering a trend that would evolve into a full-blown food security movement now at the height of popularity in l.a. 

“People want to be connected to that, especially the young generation,” he said. 

Anderson is founder and guru of the Backwards Beekeepers’ association, a group of 800 organic, treatment-free beekeepers who focus on encouraging the native feral bee populations inhabiting southern California. 

Beekeeping in l.a. is illegal. However, Anderson maintains 20 hives. 

“I usually ignore most politics unless I agree with it,” he said. “Most of the bees I use are feral so they’re already in the environment anyway. I’m just taking some of them and putting them in a box.”

Honeybees are incredibly important to pollinating a number of fruits and vegetables, but in the last 50 years, their numbers have been dwindling rapidly. Scientific researchers think the varroa destructor mite is responsible for this decline, and the mite is a topic of contention in the beekeeping community.

“[Some people] get the idea that the whole bee population will succumb unless you and a bunch of the other beekeepers become emergency medical technicians for insects,” said Anderson.

“So they’ve been treating this mite with all these chemicals, and guess what kind of mite they have left? The strongest, most resistant, toughest, meanest, no good, sob mites that have ever come down the line,” he said. 

Anderson was confident in nature’s ability to select for the strong rather than relying on human intervention to give a bad track record for managing nature. 

According to Anderson, it is the wild bees, who are as diverse as the cultures represented in l.a., that makes bee populations resilient. He also argues that diversity in the environment is required to keep the bees healthy. 

Eliese Watson, organizer of the event and sole proprietor of Calgary’s Apiaries and Bees for Communities, also agrees that diversity is key to the survival of not only bees, but also humans. 

“Our rural setting has been monopolized by monoculture,” she said. “No longer is our rural environment a healthy environment for nature to thrive.”

With a massively industrialized agricultural system affecting nature, hobbyists like Anderson and Watson are finding ways to change human participation in food production.

“People are starting to actually have a connection with nature and recognizing that for humans to thrive, nature must thrive,” said Watson. “And so for bees to come into the city is a complete natural progression of the human psyche in accepting nature in our urban spaces.” 

Watson was featured on the Discovery Channel’s The Daily Planet in 2011 as she roamed across the city rescuing swarms of bees. For Watson, the national press has only added more momentum to her business and the urban beekeeping movement in Calgary. 

“It’s not always easy, but the Calgary community has been incredibly supportive,” she said of the increased interest and responsiveness to urban beekeeping. “The altruism, love, compassion, and care within a bee colony truly does exist within our society.”

[click here to view the original article on thegauntlet.ca]

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WHO: Kirk Anderson
WHAT: Hive Mentality Project
WHEN: March 16th, 2012
WHERE: Calgary, Alberta CANADA

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Rob out with Kirkobeeo and Summer on a rescue/adoption =)
Eagle Rock, CA – 2/18/12

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Anyone interested in learning to be a beekeeper in Los Angeles needs to meet KIRK ANDERSON!!
He is the BEST MENTOR for urban beekeeping ?!! kirksurbanbees.combackwardsbeekeepers.com

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LEGALIZATION UPDATE:

Last night the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council
VOTED IN FAVOR OF SUPPORTING URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support ? Yay bees!!!

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MVCC Approves Motion to Support Urban Beekeeping Los Angeles

The motion will next be presented to the Los Angeles City Council.

“The Mar Vista Community Council Board of Directors maintained a quorum Tuesday night and voted to approve the motion to support urban beekeeping in Los Angeles…

Backwards Beekeepers founder Kirk Anderson noted that Mar Vista has a thriving population of feral bees, and allowing beekeepers to step up and legally manage bees would only help the community. 

Green Committee Co-Chair Sherri Akers also spoke about HoneyLove founders Rob and Chelsea McFarland, who first brought the idea of a beekeeping pilot project to the council. She spoke of how the couple had personally worked to remove hives from public spaces and protect the community from feral bees. 

Board member Kate Anderson said she respected the concerns about being stung but added that the six-month study by the council had seriously considered the issues at hand and had done its work.

Board Member Geoffrey Forgione also pointed out that the motion that will now be presented to the City Council is not advocating that the pilot program take place specifically in Mar Vista. Rather, the MVCC is advocating for the implementation of the program in Los Angeles.

Following the approval of the motion, several supporters dressed in black and yellow applauded the move as they waved yellow pom poms on sticks above their heads.

Chelsea McFarland told Patch she was grateful for the support of the MVCC Green Committee and the Backwards Beekeepers, saying, “This was a great night for Los Angeles beekeepers.”

Przekop, who headed up the outreach committee for the project told Patch she was happy that the motion passed but that “it’s a very small step in a long process. I hope [the Los Angeles City Council] and other neighborhood councils support this, because this isn’t going to happen just by Mar Vista supporting it.”

Przekop added she was thrilled to be part of this grassroots movement and that the template created in Mar Vista for the beekeeping project is something that other communities can use in seeking support for the project.

The MVCC motion reads:

The committee reviewed over 150 articles on beekeeping, best practices, planning articles on Urban Agriculture, State, County and city beekeeping regulations to help in the evaluation of the recommendations and conclusions of the Beekeeping Feasibility Study. The committee also spoke to program directors in numerous cities where programs are in place.

The Feasibility Study concludes that there is a strong community interest in supporting beekeeping efforts and that doing so would result in positive changes that permit the healthy growth of honey bee colonies and increase the production and quality of fruits, vegetables and flowers in Mar Vista’s organic home gardens while providing a community service as a resource for the removal of feral (wild) hives. Research indicates that such a program would be cost neutral to the city of LA.

The MVCC Board therefore recommends the implementation of a Beekeeping Pilot Program in to test safety and develop best practices for future expansion. We urge the City of LA to adopt a policy that includes conditions relating to maintenance, location, registration and notification to assure for the safety of all residents, which may result in the continued preservation of quality of life and preservation of single-family residential districts.”

[click here to read the original article on marvista.patch.com]

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Backwards Beekeeper Roberta filmed some cute bees drinking some honey on one of her latest rescues

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