(ABOVE: Matthew Gee, Co-Founder of Gees Bees Honey Company, holding up part of a bee hive. Photo by Barry Gray.)
The Ottawa Food Bank unveiled a new beehive on Wednesday at their Community Harvest farming project on Mansfield Road near Stittsville.
Thanks to a grant from JustChange Ottawa, the Gees Bees Honey Company has teamed up with the food bank to install the beehive. The honeybees who call this new hive their home will help pollinate the crops and will also produce honey that Gees Bees will sell to benefit the food bank.
“Honeybees pollinate at least a third of the food that we eat. Our hope is that our donated beehive, thanks to the JustChange Ottawa grant, will help produce more fruits and vegetables at the Ottawa Food Bank’s farm,” said Marianne Gee, co-founder of Gees Bees Honey Company.
Gees Bees provides managed beehive rentals in Ottawa. Business owners, chefs, and homeowners can pay to host a hive on their property. The company provides trained beekeepers to do all the work, including harvesting the honey for the host.
The Community Harvest Program grows and collects nutritious, local produce to help feed the hungry through the Ottawa Food Bank’s community food programs.
“The summer months are tough for the Ottawa Food Bank and our shelves get bare. We are thrilled that we now have bees on our side, helping to increase the amount of fresh, quality fruits and vegetables we can provide to those who are hungry in our community,” said Michael Maidment, Executive Director of the Ottawa Food Bank
In 2015, the Ottawa Food Bank distributed a total 176,553 lbs of fresh produce, including 101,000 lbs of which they grew themselves. Thanks in part to the bees, this year, they hope to increase the amount of food grown on the farm.
Pollination ensures that a plant will produce its fruit and a full set of and viable seeds. Bees are vital to food production and perfect farm workers.
Evidence shows many species are suffering alarming population declines. Beekeepers in Canada have seen a 35% decline in the bee population in the past three years, and there is an increased worldwide effort to establish more bee colonies.
JustChange Ottawa provides micro grants to help accelerate innovative projects that benefit our community.
“We’re excited to see that our grant to Gees Bees Honey Company has contributed to this partnership between them and the Ottawa Food Bank, which we’re sure will lead to great things for the community both on and off the farm,” said Louise Grace of JustChange Ottawa.
(Story via Ottawa Food Bank)