We recently added an exciting feature to Haw Creek Commons—bee hives. We started with four hives: two Langstroth hives whose focus is honey production and two top bar hives whose focus is beeswax production. The bee yard is complete with bear fencing (aka electrical fencing) as well as a privacy fence to deter hive theft (apparently a big deal in North Carolina).
The bee yard is primarily managed by Holly Roach, a cultural organizer and, entrepreneur, and the founder of our Thursday evening meditation group and potluck. She spearheaded starting Haw Creek Bee Club which provides free monthly bee keeping classes at Haw Creek Commons. We currently have eleven members—two of whom, being inspired and empowered by our classes, have now decided to become Certified Bee Keepers! Members are now involved in caring for the bees and the club is developing a rotating care schedule This has been a great point of connection while we await the completion of the construction of the main campus.
A few weeks ago we made "bee candy:"a supersaturated sugar solution combined with apple cider vinegar, and medicinal essential oils that will act as food for the hives all winter. We also recently made pollen patties for the remaining hive so it will have lots of food to explode their population and make a new queen.
The Haw Creek Elementary Homegrown Kids after-school program toured our bee yard during our All About Insects class and it was very well received by kids and parents alike. We hope to do additional programming this coming year—possibly paid workshops to generate income and create sustainable programming.
Our rationale behind the installation of a bee yard was several fold:
Pollinators are necessary for a healthy local ecology and our own food supply, yet they are becoming extinct due to chemical sprays and pesticides
We wanted our community vegetable garden pollinated
Keeping bees is a fantastic point of sustainable education and demonstration
They will become a source of honey for our production at HCC
We may potentially generate income through honey and nuke (bee "starter packs" for spring hives) sales
A community member approach us and want to help lead an awesome program on our site!
Our bee yard is the perfect picture of combining community vision and a flexibly designed space which can evolve with the community. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning about beekeeping, becoming part of the care team, or starting a hive of their own with community support, please contact Holly Roach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love for you to join us! Join our email list to get updates on the Bee Club.