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Honeybee Micro Apiary – First of its kind

Honeybee Micro Apiary – First of its kind

Groundbreaking: Micro Apiary at the Urban Farming Institute

Published: Sun-Sentinel, February 2, 2016

Picture of E. Roberts
by E. Roberts – Contact Reporter

They lined up to peek into the hurricane-proof, six-foot-tall wooden enclosure [Honeybee Micro Apiary – First of its kind] – and reactions to what was inside mirrored that of 9-year-old Bond Benson.

“I thought we were going to see bees?” wondered the fourth grade student.

Benson wasn’t the only one surprised during his initial encounter with “the first honeybee micro apiary in Broward County.” But during the early stages, the demonstration micro apiary housed at Jaco Pastorius Park in Oakland Park has no bees.

At least for now.

A state law that took precedence over municipal ordinances opened the door to bees in Oakland Park, a pilot project supporters hope will lead to bees throughout Broward County while there is sufficient green space to support them.

“The challenge was to establish a permanent apiary in an urban setting,” said Jon Albee, president of the nonprofit Urban Farming Institute. “Because today’s apiary is tomorrow’s condo.”

“There is a crisis in honeybees and the idea is to get lots of micro-apiaries,” said Dan Lewis, a board member of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council, which provided a $5,000 grant for the apiary demonstration project. The goal is to have micro apiaries help reintroduce bees to Broward, as they are vital to rescuing farm land from urban sprawl.

Urban farming education has been the Urban Farming Institute’s mission since 2012 when it introduced a community garden on a vacant corner of Jaco Pastorius Park. The park now bristles with raised beds green with collards and tomato plants, herbs, and squash plants. On Saturdays, it breaks out in a farmer’s market featuring locally-grown produce and education programs.

“An [micro] apiary doesn’t mean there is a higher concentration of honey bees here. “[The bees] go up to five miles away because they go where there is pollen to forage.”

The new apiary will house silver boxes containing metal plates laced with struts for honey comb. Despite cool temperatures, people turned out for the ribbon cutting and the latest sign that the Urban Farming Institute’s Discovery Farm and Gardens is well on the way to proving that agriculture is viable.

Organizers of the project also envision apiaries in water management districts, public parks, and public properties under redevelopment.

“That is what we are sharing here,” Albee said. “Bees can go anywhere.”

Honeybee Micro Apiary – First of its kind

Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel


The Micro Apiary at the Urban Farming Institute has tens of thousands of bees. Come by and ask us for a tour.

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