ONE YEAR AGO TODAY we made our first speech to the Mar Vista Community Council to begin the process of legalizing urban beekeeping in Los Angeles!
Since then we have had a total of 7 COMMUNITY COUNCILS within Los Angeles pass motions in support of our efforts (Mar Vista, Del Rey, South Robertson, Greater Griffith Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, and Atwater Village).
And last month we received a motion by Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl instructing the city’s planning department to begin preparing a report ”relative to the feasibility of allowing beekeeping in R1 zones as a practive to foster a healtheir bee population.” – View the full motion here!
WE ARE GETTING CLOSE!! THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT!!
Click here sign our petition!
Below is the speech Rob McFarland of HoneyLove.org gave to the Mar Vista Community Council last year:
They say that you don’t choose to be a beekeeper, but rather the bees choose you. My wife, Chelsea, and I got involved with bees out of passion, but also out of chance. When a swarm of feral honeybees came into our garden one afternoon, we were recruited into the ranks of beekeepers, an order that includes everyone from Aristotle, the Apostle Luke, Alexander the Great and several of our country’s founding fathers, to Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart and Michele Obama. The problem was, giving them a home was not legal, but incomprehensibly, exterminating them was.
As avid gardeners, Chelsea and I had been following the Backwards Beekeepers blog for several years prior to the swarm showing up, so we knew exactly who to call. A few hours later, a volunteer from the organization showed up and removed the bees without incident. We were able to find a new home for them in Santa Monica where they are now happily making honey. This experience drove us to learn more about honeybees and start HoneyLove.org an organization committed to saving bees from extinction by educating and inspiring urban beekeepers.
The histories of the human species and that of the honeybee are inseparable. Neither species could have evolved to present conditions without the symbiotic relationship that we harbor. Albert Einstein is thought to have said, “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” The reason for his grim prognosis is the fact that bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops, which means that 1 out of every 3 bites of food is thanks to a bee.
Unfortunately, we have real reason to fear the specter raised by Mr. Einstein. Since 2006, more than one third of honeybee colonies collapsed nationwide, a global phenomenon now called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. And while there is no one smoking gun causing CCD, scientists now widely agree that it is a result of a combination of factors, made manifest by industrial beekeeping. The practice of trucking hives great distances to pollinate crops, exposing bees to countless pesticides, interfering with the species’ natural defenses by treating them with miticides and antibiotics, and feeding them high fructose corn syrup – junk food – has made bees incredibly vulnerable and on the brink of collapse. If present trends continue, scientists estimate there will be no more bees by 2035. That is, only if we fail to act, if we fail to recognize this disaster in the making and don’t take strong action to counter the slow march to extinction.
So what do we do? According to Simon Buxton as quoted in the new documentary Vanishing of the Bees, “the future of beekeeping is not in 1 beekeeper with 60,000 hives, but rather 60,000 people with 1 hive.”
The best science tells us that the future of the honeybee is within the urban environment; cities actually provide safer habitat than the farms and rural areas traditionally associated with beekeeping. Monocultures, or the planting of a single crop, are problematic for bees because outside of the brief window when the crop is in bloom, these vast plots become devoid of the pollen and nectar that hives require for survival.
Cities, however, provide greater biodiversity for foraging bees throughout the year, which drastically reduces if not eliminates the need to feed bees or disturb them by moving their hives. And due to most people not wanting pesticides on their property or near their family, bees are granted a ‘get out of jail free’ card, thus eliminating one more reason for their decline. The city environment is therefore the last refuge of the honeybee.
Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Spokane, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and most recently Santa Monica [AND REDONDO BEACH!!] have all taken decisive action and legalized urban beekeeping. We believe it to be a necessary and just measure requiring immediate action. We humbly request that you support our motion in the spirit of preserving the future of the honeybee.