Day 102: Brooklyn Buzz

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April 11, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

My mind’s been buzzing lately with thoughts of bees.  Obviously, a few days ago, I highlighted a project involving the next generation of beekeepers.  Since then, there’s been a lot of talk amongst my friends about the danger that bees are in, and ultimately about the danger that we are in because of our easily-overlooked dependence on bees.  While critical to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, promoting genetic diversity and pollinating much of our food supply, bees are poorly understood.  Their mysteriousness is made all the more meaningful when we observe trends of their diminishing populations.  If bees make you nervous, a lack of bees should frighten you to the core.  Bees are facing a true crisis and until we understand why and how we can get involved to resolve it, the future of a vast array of species – animal, plant and insect alike – as well as much of the economy are in a precarious situation.  Today’s project is bringing bees back in what might be an unexpected place: a rooftop farm in the heart of Brooklyn, NY.

The Brooklyn Grange is a small urban farm settled atop the roof of a 6-story building in New York City.  Since their first Kickstarter campaign in 2010, they’ve produced over 25,000 lbs. of fresh vegetables for the city and don’t plan on stopping soon.  Quite the opposite, in fact – they’re now putting together the city’s largest urban apiary to house thousands of bees in 25 new hives.

Bees are not only excellent honey-makers, but they serve a critical environmental role in New York City’s ecosystem, pollinating the millions of flowering plants and trees in our parks, community gardens, and urban farms. Without bees our food supply and our City would suffer, and we are opening this apiary with the goal of promoting the local beekeeping movement and educating New Yorkers about the many wonderful contributions that bees make.

This project is more than mere tons of honey – it’s an opportunity to explore, experiment and hopefully to better understand these busy bugs.  Plans are in the making for a breeding program to sustain a new line of Brooklyn Bees best suited for an environment that’s not entirely hospitable to our little winged friends.  Training programs through the apiary will ensure that our exploration of the hive life will continue for years to come, and hopefully get sweeter all the time.  Join me in helping The Brooklyn Grange establish a new place for bees and humans to come together and make sweet, sticky progress together by backing them on Kickstarter before April 19.

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