The neighbourhood will be abuzz with busy bees this summer, because urban beekeeping has come to East Village! Until the end of September, the green space next to the EV Experience Centre will be home to an apiary – a collection of five beehives and thousands of honey bees – that we’ve named The Hive in East Village.
To deliver this sustainability and biodiversity project, we’ve partnered with local beekeeper and honey producer, MOB Honey. Does the name ring a bell? MOB was one of the shops at East Village Junction (our pop-up retail container park) last summer. If you were a frequent visitor to EV Junction, chances are you probably stopped in to chat with owner Amber Yano and tasted some of her locally-produced honey.
You might be asking yourself, “Why bees?” Over the past decade, bee populations have declined drastically, and bee health is now more important than ever. Bees provide one of the most recognizable ecosystem services – pollination – which is what makes food production possible. They pollinate nearly three-quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. In short, a third of the world’s food production depends on bees!
And though it might seem counter-intuitive, bees actually thrive better in an urban environment than in a rural setting. Beehives located in cities produce healthier and more productive bees because urban bees have access to greater biodiversity, resulting in a more varied diet and stronger immune systems.
To create The Hive in East Village, we tapped local makerspace Fuse33 to construct a rectangular, honeycomb-clad hive enclosure. The clear, plexiglass sides let passersby peek inside to watch the hives grow, and the top is open, so the bees have easy access in and out. Once the bees’ new home was completed, Amber transported her hives and brought in the honey bees to acclimate to their new digs.
Curious to know more about our newest (and tiniest) neighbours? EV residents and visitors will have a chance to learn about urban beekeeping from MOB at monthly workshops, where you can get suited up to go inside the enclosure for a hands-on experience. But even just visiting The Hive might teach you something new about these amazing superorganisms; we’ve installed information on the enclosure with all kinds of un-bee-lievable fun facts.
Visit evhivetour.eventbrite.ca to sign up for a monthly workshop with MOB Honey.