Urban beekeeping project aimed at Philadelphia's underserved youth

As an educational tool, beekeeping has a lot to recommend it: students keeping hives get a direct education in the complex relationships of natural systems, and insight into food production. Added lessons may focus on bees’ creation of around $15 billion in added crop value, or the fact that “about one mouthful in three in the diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination.” And, finally, they’ll pick up a skill with economic value as demand for local honey is very strong.

The Woodland Community Apiary in Western Philadelphia plans to teach all of these lessons and more as a part of its youth beekeeping project. The concept is relatively simple, but could have a big  impact on area youth with limited prospect: “Volunteer beekeeper Daniel Duffy will lead a structured curriculum of workdays that will empower high school students from underserved communities to manage part of the apiary and sell their honey and pollen at farmers markets.” The project will also have a Community Supported Apiary program in which local resident can invest in the apiary’s harvest, and receive shares of it as it becomes available.

The people running the apiary project aren’t newcomers to this kind of community empowerment: under the umbrella of the organization UC Green, they’ve also trained kids as tree-tenders for green spaces in their community. Currently, they’re in fundraising mode for the project: if you’ve got a few extra bucks to kick in, visit their Kickstarter page for more information.

Sounds like a very worthwhile effort. Know of other projects that use beekeeping to teach kids about natural systems, agriculture, and even entrepreneurship? Tell us about them…

via Garreson Publishing


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