Urban Beekeeping Comes to Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Producer, Editor, Videographer: Erin Horan Additional footage by: Kevin Reilly and Guia Del Prado April 2012 ________________________________ This spring, Tim O’Neil, 27, is starting a new beekeeping apprenticeship program at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Grange…

Urban Beekeeping Comes to Fort Greene, Brooklyn

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Producer, Editor, Videographer: Erin Horan
Additional footage by: Kevin Reilly and Guia Del Prado
April 2012
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This spring, Tim O’Neil, 27, is starting a new beekeeping apprenticeship program at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Grange farm. The apiary expects to have 25 to 30 hives.

The program will run throughout the summer and 12 apprentices will have the opportunity to set up hives and harvest honey.

“We’ve received applications from all walks of life, from bankers in the financial district to retirees,” said O’Neil.

In light of recent headlines regarding the depopulation of honeybees, Beekeepers such as O’Neil believe it’s crucial to pass the craft of beekeeping onto others.

“One third of all the food we eat is completely reliant on honeybee pollination, and I think that’s pretty damn important,” said O’Neil.

Since legalization in 2010, urban beekeepers are required to register their hives with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Since April 2010, over 80 beekeepers were granted permits to establish hives. When the ban was lifted in 2010, only 3 hives were registered. In November 2011, that number increased to 130 hives.

In addition to a permit, the Department of Health requires beekeepers to keep hives in moveable frames, provide an adequate water source, and maintain the hives in isolated areas to prevent nuisance to residents nearby.

Despite the threat of swarms, O’Neil believes the program will benefit the Fort Greene community by providing an outlet for learning and cultivation.

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