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RE: beekeeping in community gardens

  • Subject: RE: [cg] beekeeping in community gardens
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com
  • Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 10:43:58 -0500

It was a pleasure showing you through the Clinton Community Garden earlier this month and showing you our beehive.  Sid Glazer, a retired NYC Public School teacher, learned beekeeping in the Peace Corps and now maintains hives at the Clinton Community Garden in Manhattan and Wave Hill in the Bronx.
.  E-mail me off list, and I'll get you Sid's contact information :
To answer your questions:
  • How does beekeeping effect the image or strength of gardens?  Are they a symbol, a point of community organization and pride?
    As set within our native American plant  bed, the Clinton Community Garden's beehive serves as a symbol of what neighborhoods can do. An older visitor, who remembered when the Arsenal Gang and the Westies used to dump bodies (or their parts) in the site that became our garden, was reduced to tears at what we had done with the space over 25 years. The large, former longshoreman stood looking at the beehive and plantings in a state of dazed reverence.  The new folks don't know what the place was - he couldn't believe what it has become. A flourishing beehive means a healthy micro-ecosystem. No less. It helps us maintain an organic garden.
  • How does it interface with zoning codes?  Fear of bee stings?
    While not specifically zoned for bees, we have kept a beehive at the Clinton Community Garden with the permission of the NYC Parks Dept ( we have our license agreement with them.) As we are surrounded by residences in Midtown Manhattan, we proactively deal with swarming, and have chosen to use non-agressive European honey bees varieties to stock our hive. We have found that one hive ( with 6 collecting chambers) is just the right size for our third of an acre garden. We also show newbies the hive, and instruct folks with children to be careful and to act with common sense.  It has worked with us.
  • How big are harvests?  How distributed?
  • We average between 80 - 90 pounds per annual harvest. Sometimes, we have a spring harvest, but that is rare.  We sell our honey as a fundraiser in the fall, keeping a few jars around for Parks Dept VIPs, politicians and funders.
  • Do the bees deter "bad elements"?
  • Some thugs don't like bees, but that has to do more with the phobias of individuals.  Fences, good operating policies and a well run garden supported by the community deter "bad elements" better than anything else. Bee's work awfully hard. They aren't cops.
  • How are they used in education, job training, business incubation?
  • The Clinton Community Garden's beehive (and vermiculture worm bin) have appeared on a segment PBS television's "Wild America" series. You can go to the PBS website to find out information on this show and contact the producers for a videotape. School groups, birders and everyday folks have their paradigms shifted by our beehive all the time - located as it is a mere 8 blocks away from when the ball is dropped in Times Square every New Year's eve.
    Best wishes,
    Adam Honigman
    Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Brian Kehoe [mailto:brkehoe@hotmail.com]
    Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 9:41 AM
    To: community_garden@mallorn.com
    Subject: [cg] beekeeping in community gardens

    I wrote the listserv in November re a thesis on NYC community gardens.  I appreciated the quality responses.

    I am writing today to elicit information on beekeeping in urban community gardens.  I hope to gather contact info and names of beekeepers, gardeners, zoning professionals and others.  I am exploring an analysis of beekeeping (and perhaps other appropriate scale husbandry) in urban community gardens.    

    Here are the questions I hope to address. 

    • How does beekeeping effect the image or strength of gardens?  Are they a symbol, a point of community organization and pride?
    • How does it interface with zoning codes?  Fear of bee stings?
    • How big are harvests?  How distributed?
    • Do the bees deter "bad elements"?
    • How are they used in education, job training, business incubation?
    • etc.

     I would appreciate any insights and contacts.  I am a beekeeper and have previously raised pigs and chickens. 

    Brian Kehoe
    Masters in Urban Planning (Sept. 2003)
    University of Buffalo

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