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Story notes: (See the companion essay here.) Bees have always been a part of the city landscape. But something is happening in the world today that’s making their presence more noticeable. Whether it’s because people love honey or want to better understand bee behavior or are looking for sustainable ways to support the vital pollinator ecosystem, people’s interest in bees is on the rise. As a result, more beehives are popping up in cities around the world.
This podcast episode, produced by Jennifer Baljko, profiles beekeeping projects in Barcelona, Beijing, New York and San Francisco to get a better idea of how this trend is evolving. As she finds out, each project—and each beekeeper—started in a different way, and each has a sweet story to tell.
For instance, Andrew Coté, president of the New York City Beekeepers Association and founder of the nonprofit organization Bees Without Borders, talks about being a longtime beekeeper and how beekeeping has evolved in the city.
Sahra Malik, co-founder and chief executive officer of the social enterprise Shangrila Farms, explains how her family’s interest in rural beekeeping led to the creation of a yearlong urban beekeeping training program in Beijing.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Jaume Clotet, a mechanical engineer-turned-beekeeper who runs Mel.lis Serveis Apícoles, discusses how urban beekeeping initiatives can expand beyond honey production and into artistic, cultural, educational, and research applications. OpenBeeResearch is one such example, and in this case, a hive on a museum rooftop has been hooked up with sensors. It’s a perfect citizen science project that will provide insight into the health of the cities and the bees, says Josep Perelló, an associate professor with the Physics Faculty at the Universitat de Barcelona and the project leader for the university’s multi-disciplinary OpenSystems research group.
And, lastly, San Francisco-based Terry Oxford—a beekeeper, an artist and an environmental activist—advocates for supporting the vital pollinator ecosystem, in which honeybees play a critical role. Through her UrbanBeeSF project, Oxford promotes sustainable, environmentally friendly urban beekeeping and city pollination practices, and provides practical tips for people who want to help keep urban bees healthy.
This episode was produced by: