Urban bee farms of Detroit are not only rebuilding honey bee populations, they are also rebuilding the city and uplifting the community. EcoJustice Radio speaks with Detroit Hives on the work they are doing with bees and community.
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Detroit Hives Revitalizing Neighborhoods with Urban Beekeeping
Whole neighborhoods in urban Detroit are known for their empty, abandoned, overgrown lots, a victim of municipal mismanagement and changing economic demographics where the city lost 61 percent of its population since 1950.
Detroit has gone from one of the United States most prosperous cities to one of its most distressed due to financial mismanagement, leadership failures, and a car industry in peril. 30% of the residents live below the poverty line. However, Detroit is currently experiencing a bright transformation. Community born programs are re-growing the city, raising up the residents and entire neighborhoods.
Urban beekeeping happens to be one of the solutions forging a new path in Detroit. Nicole Lindsey and Timothy Paule Jackson of Detroit Hives are generating a lot of buzz by activating vacant lots in the inner city and turning those spaces into urban bee farms. And doing so in a way that uplifts long-term residents and doesn’t lend to furthering gentrification.
Detroit Hives: Honey Bee Farms as Urban Revitalization - EcoJustice Radio
Nicole and Timothy’s inspiring story of community restoration and greening is one that can be cross-pollinated throughout the United States and beyond.
Populations of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are suffering because of habitat loss, disease, pesticide use, and climate change. While 15% of the world’s food is pollinated by honey bees, nearly 80% is pollinated by native bees and other wildlife, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are 3,600 species of native bees in the United States and an estimated 20,000 species worldwide, according to the Xerces Society. Detroit Hives advocates that the way to support pollinators is to avoid pesticide use, plant native plants, provide nesting sites, remove invasive species of plants, and of course, create pollinator habitat.
Timothy Paule Jackson and Nicole Lindsey are both lifetime Detroiters. Their non-profit organization Detroit Hives works to create sustainable communities and bee populations by transforming vacant lots into pollinator friendly spaces. Nicole is devoted to altering negative stigmas about bees by informing people of their crucial roles and benefits to the environment. She also teaches children about apiology. Timothy, comes from a background of photography and advertising. He is focused on making Detroit a bee city by repurposing vacant land into pollinator habitats. The overarching goal is to improve the quality of life not only for native plants and insects, but for the surrounding community.
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