Sunday, June 23, 2013


Can any one imagine producing honey among the concrete jungles of vast sprawling cities spread all over this world in different countries? Possibly the answer may be a resounding no! But Australia is in the forefront to debunk this conventional belief and it has been shown time and again that better quality honey can be produced in urban townships than that in rural areas! In cities like Sydney there appears to be great enthusiasm by the citizenry to go for honey production on their roofs and amazingly the fear about bee sting does not bother them a wee bit. According to Beehive experts honey bees do not harm humans as they are least interested in them and gentle handling will ensure safe honey extraction from their hives. It appears the infectious enthusiasm about urban honey production seems to be spreading fast to other cities in the world like London, Paris etc and soon Urban Honey Beehives may become a parallel activity to urban agriculture and gardens which are growing day by day. Here is a take on this interesting phenomenon which deserves kudos from all nature loving people of the world. 

It might seem counter-intuitive but cities are perfect for beekeeping, Burton says. "Urban bees tend to do better than country bees because people have so many exotic trees and flowers in their gardens, so there's always something flowering in the city," she says. "In the country most of the land is used for farming, which means forage tends to be less diverse." In the cities however, even hives within a few kilometres of one another can produce honey with distinctly different tastes. The honey Burton harvests from hives in Elizabeth Bay, for example, is sweet and floral, whereas the honey from Fassnidge's hives in Paddington – less than two kilometres away – has a richer, earthier flavour. Doug Purdie, who splits his days between a marketing job and his real love, the Urban Beehive business, says interest in urban beekeeping has leapt significantly in recent years. "When I started [three years ago], there were no hives on restaurants or cafes. There were in Melbourne but as far as I know, the first in Sydney was the one we put on the Swissotel," he says. Today, Purdie and his business partner manage 55 hives in Sydney, including at Cornersmith cafe in Marrickville, Chez Dee in Potts Point, Wine Library in Woollahra and Berta in the city.

It may be logical to expect such initiative from consumers who are fed up of commercial agriculture because of safety fears and adverse environmental impact, especially on the weather conditions that contribute to global warming. Locavore movement which is spreading fast these days encourages urban beehive operations as the honey produced will have minimum carbon foot print. China and India are the biggest producers of honey and recent scandals about antibiotic tainted and pesticide contaminated honey from China  are not easy to forget for a long time to come. Here are three cheers for the adventurous, courageous and nature loving citizens living in different cities of the world for their efforts to save honey bees and coax them to give high quality and safe honey year in and year out!


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