Friday, 7 February 2014

Hives For Humanity

“I thought the people down there were completely unpredictable, frightening to me, unappealing to look at. The place is dirty, overrun by rats, with the constant sound of ambulances and fire trucks. There is no peace.”
Every large city has a wrong side of the tracks. In Vancouver, British Columbia it is the Downtown Eastside. This is the hangout for drug addicts, drug pushers, pimps, prostitutes, the homeless and mentally ill and some unexpected new neighbours. At the intersection of the two worst streets a small garden shelters a beehive. The bees fly in and out bringing pollen, at the end of summer the hive is full with two distinct honeys, one dark and aromatic, the other golden yellow.


The quote at the top of the page comes from Julia Commons who was persuaded to set up the beehive. Initially she was fearful for herself and the bees. Soon, however, the bees worked their magic. Residents were drawn to to the buzzing and peaceful routine of their small fuzzy neighbours.
They looked out for Julia and the hive.
It was meant to be for one season, and then someone asked Julia about next year. In a community where surviving until the next day is the priority this was a significant statement. Julia realised she couldn't leave.

She founded Hives for Humanity.
"Our core programming focuses on working alongside at-risk communities, creating a supportive and connected network and offering opportunity for building self worth and community pride....We connect people to nature, to community and to themselves, and we do it through the bees"
Two years later there are twelve hives in the area. Julia says she has never been happier.

Find out more: Hives for Humanity
Video interview with Julia: Vancouver Sun
Do you have a bee story? Send it to me at blumoonfarm at gmail dot com


  1. Thank you for sharing this story. Bees are fascinating and I am not surprised to read that this program is a success.

    1. I agree about bees. I had a several generations of bumble bees live by my back door. They used to bump against my arm when I went outside, Very gently. I can't help feeling it was a friendly greeting.

  2. Wonderful! Bees have such a rich folk history of being part of family or community; what with the old adage of telling the bees your news lest they feel shunned and fly away, taking luck and abundance with them. Lovely to hear that their reputation comes from a genuine ability to bring people together. I am sure they are being well informed of the comings and goings in these needy communities and producing abundance all around because of it :) Thank you for sharing x

    1. I lived in a small English village and learned of the telling of the bees, there especially when someone died.

  3. Hi Susan,

    Your post brought back memories of when we had our own beehive when living on the farm. These little creatures create the most delicious honey!

    1. Lucky you. I'd love to have a hive.


Remember to check the notify me box. I always answer comments.