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Capital Bee: Supporting Beekeeping in London

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 15th, 2011

Capital Bee promotes community-run beekeeping in London and campaigns for a bee-friendly city.

The heart of Capital Bee is its seven training sites across the capital, offering 75 new beekeepers one year’s training from some of London’s most experienced beekeepers. These communities will then receive a hive and bees in 2012. The community sites, throughout the capital, are in schools, colleges, housing estates, businesses, and allotments. A full list of sites is available here.

Capital Bee is asking Londoners to support their local beekeepers and honey bees by growing plants that bees like, finding alternatives to garden pesticides, and opting for organic choices where possible. Solitary bees and bumble bees also need a suitable habitat in gardens, in much the same way as we put up bird boxes. A honey bee will fly up to three miles, so with over 2,500 hives already in London in London, you are never far from a bee!

The 50 new community apiaries are part of the Capital Growth campaign, which aims to support 2,012 new community food-growing spaces in London by the end of 2,012. Capital Growth is a partnership between London Food Link, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund.

In August this year, Capital Bee ran the London Honey Festival – “a celebration of London Honey, from across the capital as far as Croydon to Bexley, Tottenham to Ruislip, King’s Cross to the Royal Festival Hall. [People could] participate in the festival at selected restaurants, local shops and at the Honey Festival itself.”

http://www.capitalgrowth.org/bees/

 


Incremental Change: the Ginza Bee Project

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 20th, 2009

Source: Japan for Sustainability

ginpachi_honey_label
Image via tokyo green space

From “The Ginza Honeybee Project — Urban Development Inspired by Beekeeping” by Yuriko Yoneda

Ginza is one of the world’s leading downtown districts, complete with high-class department stores and designer shops. Ginza honeybees are nicknamed “Ginpachi” (short for “Ginza bees” in Japanese), and recently they have become somewhat of a new mascot for the district.  In March 2006, the Ginza Bee Project placed three hives on a rooftop 45 meters above the intersection at Ginza 4-chome, and bees began flying into the sky above Ginza.  Parks such as the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park, and Hama-rikyu Gardens are located within two kilometers, and many roadside trees are also good sources of nectar. The amount of honey collected has been increasing steadily, growing from 160 kilograms (kg) in 2006, to 290 kg in 2007, 440 kg in 2008, and over 700 kg in 2009.   The beekeepers are using the honey to make Ginza-based products using local skills.

The honeybee is said to be an environmental indicator species because it is extremely susceptible to pesticides, which are used on vast areas of farmland in Japan, and are causing the survival rate of bees to drop. Meanwhile, in Ginza, which is in the central part of metropolitan Tokyo, the use of pesticides is avoided because of the growing number of people with allergies. So Ginza has ended up being a bee-friendly environment, and the high-quality honey-producing Ginza bees have made people aware that the district has a rich natural environment.  Since the bees were brought to Ginza, cherry blossoms that had previously not been pollinated began to produce cherries. People began to see birds eating the cherries, and small insects began rejuvenating the environment around the area.

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