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HoneyLove nominated for the GOOD 100

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Click the little blue “It’s Good!” triangle on their site!

Illustration by Lauren Tamaki
I first met Rob McFarland while working at a tech startup in Venice, Calif. One day, not long after our company had moved into a new office, a few co-workers discovered a beehive in the alley behind the parking lot. While someone else wanted to tell the office to call pest control and have it removed, Rob had other plans. He explained about the mass die-offs of bees around the globe, how human survival and food production rely on bees, and the irony of how the urban environment is one of the last havens for these creatures because fewer pesticides are used in the city. Rob came into the office in full beekeeping garb the next day, armed with a cardboard box and lid to help remove the hive and find it a new home.  It wasn’t the first time he had done something like this. Several months earlier, Rob and his wife Chelsea called a beekeeper to relocate a neighbor’s unwanted hive into their backyard and started championing the legalization of urban beekeeping in Los Angeles.
Rob and Chelsea started a nonprofit named HoneyLove, after their nicknames for each other. HoneyLove’s mission is to protect honeybees, legalize urban beekeeping, and encourage and educate new urban beekeepers. They started with town halls and city council meetings, but, as with anything Rob and Chelsea seem to do, they have brought their creative touch to it, utilizing photo booths, dance videos, and an annual, yellow-tie formal to spread their message. And it’s working. In the three short years they have been running HoneyLove, Rob and Chelsea have convinced more than 20 neighborhood councils to send letters of support to the city to legalize beekeeping in L.A., held dozens of events, trained hundreds of new beekeepers, and facilitated the rescue of hundreds of hives. In the next year, they are hoping to increase their education reach to more people to get urban beekeeping officially legalized in L.A.  I nominated Rob and Chelsea for the GOOD 100 because they took an issue—the global, mass die-off of bees—that felt out of reach and inaccessible, and they did something tangible and creative about it.
Paris Marron is a Product Manager at GOOD.
Gap has teamed up with GOOD to celebrate the GOOD 100, our annual round-up of individuals at the cutting-edge of creative impact. Gap + GOOD are challenging you to join in. We all have something to offer. #letsdomore

 

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Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, Yay Bees

VOTE TODAY for a PESTICIDE FREE LA!

Please take 30 seconds to help out our urban pollinators:
VOTE & COMMENT NOW for a PESTICIDE FREE LOS ANGELES!!
http://myla2050.maker.good.is/projects/HoneyLove

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[art via seppo.net]

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLovin

VOTE HoneyLove.org for a Pesticide Free #LA2050

Vote HoneyLove LA2050

VOTE NOW!! http://t.co/4ClSmn5JtS

Spearheaded by the Goldhirsh FoundationLA2050 believes in the power of Angelenos to shape the future of our region.  HoneyLove.org is up for a $100,000 grant and needs your vote to help get it!! Please VOTE and SHARE!!

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLovin

Urban Beekeeping’s a ‘Sweet’ Deal—So What’s the Hold Up?


It may be full of potential, but urban beekeeping is a movement that’s still in its infancy in Los Angeles, with many challenges that prevent it from taking off. Cities all over the world are promoting beekeeping as a necessary practice to increase food security and environmental stability. In fact, beekeeping is so hot, even Michelle Obama has christened the White House garden with two healthy hives. So what’s the hold up, LA?
 
From a social perspective, how can we dispel the fear that has long overshadowed the bees’ reputation: the dreaded beesting? And from a political perspective, how do you legalize urban beekeeping in a city that disallows it and instead maintains a policy to exterminate all wild honey bees? 
 
Rob and Chelsea MacFarland think they’ve figured out the answers to these questions, and have set out to eliminate these barriers with their organization, HoneyLove. They believe that the city is actually the last refuge of the honeybee, since our home gardens, unlike farms in rural areas, are generally free of pesticides. Urban beekeeping is thriving in cities across the U.S., from New York to San Francisco, but is relatively new in Los Angeles. And it’s a shame because unlike most urban areas in the country, there is year-round availability of pollen and nectar for them to feed on in the City of Angels. 
 
Despite the hospitable habitat, urban beekeeping is still illegal in LA—and misinformation about the danger of “killer bees” means most people aren’t rushing to put on a bee suit. So in order to help it take off, HoneyLove is focusing its efforts on the legal matter, petitioning to legalize urban beekeeping in Los Angeles. And when they aren’t meeting with community councils and petitioning the city (a hearing date will be set this month), they are educating the wee ones, pushing the idea that bees are a critical part of the ecosystem—and not something to fear. 
 
I had a chance to catch up with Rob, co-founder of HoneyLove. He says the main issue is that people associate anything that is black and yellow with bees; yet it’s the wasp—not the honeybee—that is likely to sting at the picnic table. Wasps are aggressive and omnivorous, whereas honeybees are vegetarian and peaceful, just defensive. Unfortunately, people are likely to call an exterminator if they come across a hive in their yard or compost bin, when they should actually call HoneyLove to rescue those busy bees. 
 
And in case you’re wondering why this all matters, don’t let their small size fool you. Honeybees pollinate one-third of U.S. agriculture, from avocados to berries to broccoli, and they’re dying rapidly.  With worldwide bee populations threatened with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and urban beekeeping more popular than ever, both the policies and the misconceptions around bees need to change. 
 
You can learn more and sign the petition at honeylove.org; and follow HoneyLove on GOOD.
 
Photo courtesy of HoneyLove.org
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