Urban Beekeepers Fight to Lift Bee Ban in New York City


Photo via NY Times

Urban beekeeping. Just the name alone oozes the trendy eco-chic that's apt to catch on with the latest generation of green-goers. The practice itself has been around for ages, but with a front page New York Times profile popping up on the Beekeeper's Ball held last Monday, it's safe to say it's seeing a strong renewal of interest. Urban beekeeping has one significant bump in the road to clear before it joins the ranks of community gardening and CSAs, however--it just so happens to be illegal.Which is why the nonprofit group Just Food arranged the ball, as well as an entire Pollinator Week devoted to beekeeping--to help raise support for lifting the ban on urban beekeeping. And so far, so good. City Council member David Yassky has already introduced a bill to abolish the ban, and it's waiting for a hearing. Those who attended the ball were encouraged to sign a petition to voice support for the measure.

And about those who attended? I mean, how good can turnout be for a fledgling passtime even if does have some impassioned supporters?

Well, according to the New York Times:

In attendance were New York City beekeepers, aspiring New York City beekeepers, beekeepers not from New York City, friends of beekeepers, friends of bees, people who like to dress as bees, people who like to dress their children as bees, bee-dressed children, one cross-dressing beekeeper, a couple of guys who spend much of their time dressed in armor, fans of honey, fans of local food and a team of French videographers.
In other words, pretty damn good.

As of now, there's a $2,000 fine for those clandestine urban beekeepers who are caught making illicit honey. And even though the fine is rarely doled out, its existence alone is enough to dissuade would-be beekeeping urbanites. So hopefully Pollinator Week can stir up enough buzz--come on, you knew the pun was coming at some point--to convince city legislators to overthrow the ban. It'd be nice to see some local honey on the streets to sweeten up the Big Apple.

More on Beekeeping:
Photo Essay: Bees and Beekeepers In Crisis
White House Garden to Feature Bee Hives Too

Tags: Animals | Bees | Conservation

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