Vancouver’s first free beekeeping experience is being offered through a program organized by non-profit organization Hives for Humanity and real estate developer Amacon.
The program is located at the Milross Gardens on Main Street near Union Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood.
Located on the site of an gravel parking lot, it is a 6,000 square foot community garden with two hives that are each about the size of a newspaper box, with each hive ruled by one queen bee and capable of accommodating between 40,000 to 60,000 bees.
Bees are vital to the human food supply as they pollinate two-thirds of the food crops consumed daily, but recently their numbers have been declining worldwide due to the use of pesticides, pests, disease and parasites. In the United States last year, as many as 40 per cent of American beekeeper hives did not survive the winter – an unusually high mortality.
“The Beekeeping Mentorship Program at Milross Gardens is an exciting and unique opportunity that celebrates urban gardening, our pollinator friends, and the best of community spirit,” says Amacon’s Lilliana L. De Cotiis.
“We’re thrilled to team up with Hives for Humanity as they carry out this important work, and have worked together to create a space within our city where bees can find food and a safe hive to call home. This is a place where all people can connect, where we can all engage with nature, and where we all have the opportunity to learn from the bees and understand their importance.”
Of the 130 raised garden boxes located on the site, there are 40 designated as the “Pollinator Sanctuary” for the sole purpose of providing forage for the garden’s pollinating insects.
Three other garden boxes are being used for the garden’s compost while the remaining 88 boxes are reserved for leasing to any Vancouver resident.
Free education workshops by Hives for Humanity are open to anyone every Monday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for the remainder of the season. Beekeepers will host interactive workshops on gardening and how to care for bees, and there will also be opportunities to taste honey fresh from the comb.
A horticulturalist from Hives for Humanity is scheduled to be on-site every Monday between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to maintain the Pollinator Sanctuary. They will also be available to offer tips and answer any questions gardeners or visitors may have.
“Working collaboratively with Amacon and the community gardeners, Hives for Humanity is excited to offer open doors at Milross Gardens,” says Hives for Humanity’s Community Liaison, Sarah Common. “Our Beekeeping Mentorship Program offers the therapeutic benefits of beekeeping, raises awareness about the importance of pollinators, empowers environmental stewardship, and encourages people to connect and share in their community.”
The Milross Gardens Pollinator Sanctuary is a part of a city wide collaborative effort to increase both habitat and forage for bees.
Free Vancouver Urban Beekeeping Program
Workshop Dates & Times: Every Monday, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., during the season
Horticulturalist Dates & Times: Every Monday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., during the season
Location: Milross Gardens, Chinatown, Vancouver (989 Main Street, Vancouver)
Websites: http://hivesforhumanity.com/ | http://www.milrossgardensonmain.com/
Featured Image: Beekeeping via Shutterstock