Why we keep bees in Toronto
Because the future depends on sustainable agriculture.
How we do it
Our honeybee hives are kept in back yards and on rooftops in Toronto. They are cared for by urban Registered Beekeepers using sustainable organic methods.
Think Global. Bee Local.
Urban agricultural products created naturally, with great care. Our focus is on quality and flavour rather than volume production through factory farming or international imports.
Our honey is a sensation - the essence of your neighbourhood's natural environment captured in a jar.
When you buy our honeybee products you are buying from your neighbours, and supporting your neighbourhood honeybees.
I grew up on a farm north of the city where an old beekeeper, David Kane, kept hives at the back of our property in a small meadow tucked inside a cedar forest. From as early as I can remember, whenever he would come to tend the bees I would tag along and watch. He had the patience of a saint: I had a million and one questions and he always took the time to indulge my curiosity. He taught me about honeybee biology, behaviour, and what it meant to take care of the bees. He was gentle and calm, working the bees without a veil or gloves. That bee yard was a magical place, especially when I got to peek inside the hives. I was hooked. I bought my first hives from him when I was 16 years old, and I've been keeping bees ever since. My first job was working as an Apiary Technician for Chatsworth Honey, a commercial beekeeping operation that manages about 800 hives.
I have since moved to the city and now work in the Financial District, but I've always been passionate about local sustainable agriculture, growing food in planters on my balcony whenever I can. It struck me that I should bring my bees into the city too, and in 2016 I started my first urban hives in Willowdale neighbourhood, launching Bee Local 416. One of the things I enjoy most about urban beekeeping is getting to know all the incredible people who host our hives across the city. Sometimes, as we discuss honeybee biology or behaviour, I like to think that I'm passing on some of the wisdom of David Kane, and the generation of beekeepers I learned the craft from. - JC
After abandoning a longtime career in social work, I began to study honeybees and found a surprising depth of inner healing as I grew in my understanding of these amazing tiny creatures. I was incredibly inspired by how they live together in such a small space and accomplish so much work in such a short time-span through some pretty amazing collaborative efforts. I am convinced that collaboration is the key that has enabled honeybees to survive thousands of years across vastly different climates. The social and collaborative lifestyle of honeybees holds some key lessons for how to live successfully in sharing and caring communities. Bees have taught me how to adapt by working with others.
Stepping into an apiary is a very sensory experience: the sounds, the smells, and the empowerment that comes with overcoming fear in favor of fascination and curiosity. Being a beekeeper is the constant challenge of coming up with creative solutions to the problems beekeeping can present. Not only do I get to be creative, and work outside, but I also am constantly challenged to evaluate and make decisions making each Apiary and how it’s managed unique.
I find that in beekeeping and in life, there is an opportunity for growth and development that allows us to discover our inner resilience and ability to solve problems either on our own or with the help of others. - TA
NB: Tara recently completed her Commercial Beekeeping Certificate at Niagara Collage.
Check back soon for Jessica's bio!