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VIDEO: Brooklyn’s Urban Beekeepers: Breaking The Law For The Planet

Link to our petition:

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The buzz around urban beekeeping

London’s Jewish Community Centre is doing its bit to ensure a sweet new year with a campaign to promote urban Jewish beekeeping. Community members are being encouraged to run their own hives to combat a dramatic decline in honey bee populations

“I have always been fascinated by the bee world,” she said. “But it’s not like chickens where all you need is some space and some grain. I’m so grateful this opportunity came up.”

Alison Benjamin, who runs the course with Brian McCallum, said: “It’s really important to start keeping bees in cities, there’s more of a diversity of flowers and plants. You can taste that in the honey. In the country, there are fields and fields of the same crop. In a city it’s warmer and more sheltered.

Bees can also be great for community cohesion. Some schools in south-east London have used beekeeping as a way of keeping kids calm because you have to be very careful and thoughtful when dealing with bees.”

New North London Synagogue also has plans for a hive of its own.”We think it’s a great way to bring people together and teach important lessons around sustainability that are rooted in our faith,” said executive director Claire Mandel.

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HoneyLove wants to make bee-lievers out of Mar Vista & Del Rey
KPCC 89.3 FM article by Molly Peterson

Science detectives say they’re making progress toward solving the mystery of the disappearing bees. But bee enthusiasts aren’t taking Colony Collapse Disorder lying down either.  This summer the Madeleine Brand show covered a documentary on concerns about bee colonies disappearing, and the show’s Jacob Margolis talked about his beekeeping setup

Now backyard beekeepers are looking to expand territory in Los Angeles where their hives are welcome. (Right now, LA City code allows bee raising (apiaries) in zones A1, A2, MR1, MR2, M1, M2, M3.) I heard about Chelsea McFarland, who with her husband Rob has founded HoneyLove, a volunteer group on the west side of Los Angeles pushing for expanded rights in the city of Los Angeles areas of Mar Vista and Del Rey to keep bees. I traded some emails with her to learn more. (What follows is condensed and edited some.)

Can you tell me more about your urban beekeeping pilot program? Are you getting any funding support from anywhere?

[The idea is] that interested residents in the community would be given the opportunity to host up to two beehives on their property.  Included in the program there will be an application/registration/inspection process and safe regulations in place.  Our primary goal is to set up a handful of communities with these pilot programs across LA and then take it to the full city council to allow all of Los Angeles to be involved! 

In terms of funding, we are in the process of getting our final tax-exempt stamp of approval on our 501(c)(3) non-profit HoneyLove.  In the meantime we are a self-funded volunteer group of friends and family… a true grassroots initiative! 

You’re doing feasibility studies through the Mar Vista and Del Rey Neighborhood Councils. What are they intended to accomplish? 

Essentially the studies are all about educating the council and the community about the concept of urban beekeeping, connecting with other cities who have legalized it (Santa Monica, San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, Denver, etc.), and engaging and addressing the interests and concerns of the individual communities.

The full results of the feasibility study and our petition will be submitted to the community councils October 11 and then published online at 

In Mar Vista, October 11th is the big day that the MVCC will vote to approve or deny our pilot program. We are hoping to get as many people as possible to come out to the council meeting to show their support for that vote! 

Which came first, your love of bees, or your love of honey?

Hahaha… well Rob and I have always been animal advocates! We actually first met while working for the Orangutan Foundation International in Asia.  The honey definitely started tasting sweeter after we fell in love with our fuzzy little bees. 

Chelsea added that “HoneyLove is a resource for public meetings and events going on almost every week ranging from council and committee meetings to film screenings to our fun outreach events.” Mar Vista, are you in?”

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KENYAMen and women work together in beekeeping

“In the drought-stricken areas of Kenya’s northeast, beekeeping helps make life a bit sweeter, especially for women. A World Bank and government funded program helps beekeepers learn how to process and sell their products. Men and women work alongside each other and some women have their own hives now. It’s time to think EQUAL for women and girls.” thinkEQUAL

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By Carol Coogan

“The words “bee,” “wasp” and “hornet” are often used interchangeably as people flee, swat or kill anything remotely resembling something they fear may sting them. Having recently witnessed an innocent honey bee meet just such an end while minding its own business collecting nectar from flowers, I offer some clarification.

Although bees, wasps, sawflies and ants all belong the Hymenoptera order of insects, meaning “membrane-winged,” honeybees and bumblebees belong to one family within this order, while wasps belong to several other different families. Hornets and yellow jackets are actually wasps, for example. Wasps are generally aggressive, territorial and predatory. Many feed on other insects and spiders, stinging their prey repeatedly to paralyze them beforehand.

Bees, on the other hand, live a more peaceful existence. Rounder-bodied and more “teddy bear” fuzzy than wasps, bees keep to themselves, moving from flower to flower for their simple diet of honey [and pollen]. No insect is as widely effective for pollinating the crops and flowers we all enjoy as the honeybee. They are not inclined to sting unless threatened, [and] die if they do. Their populations are in decline. Please, be kind to bees.”

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Swarm Rescue: Albert’s Mar Vista Bees

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HoneyLove was interviewed today by Jenna for Annenberg Television News

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“Bumblebee just completed this great new 30? long mural in an alley off of La Cienega Blvd. in LA. We so love his work. Bee on the look out for big things from him in early 2012”

Keep up with him here:

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According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. It’s wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”

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Have you signed our petition yet?

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