Melbourne City Rooftop Honey Bee Project
The Big Umbrella is proud to support this, Melbourne based project. Good friends of The Big Umbrella, Melbourne City Rooftop Honey plans to one day take their project global and we hope to help them any way we can.
Together working on ideas that would give a sustainable resource, “honey” to local indigenous communities in Nepal, Mexico and Nicaragua.
For now we are just please to support them in their own ideas and dreams, and this is what they have to offer.
We are Beekeepers with a vision of bringing bees back to the city and suburbs of Melbourne. We set up this project as we saw a need to support the world wide effort to help save the honey bee.
With the collapse of honeybees in 2007 (Colony Collapse Disorder), the Asian Honey Bee threat and Varroa Mite on our doorstep, a serious risk is taking place on our natural food supply. Since the honey bee is crucial in our environment and their existence helps with sustainability in food along with the responsibility of pollinating a large proportion of the food that we eat – if the honey bees are in trouble, we are in trouble as well.
Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco and New York City are only a few of the cities where urban beekeeping is thriving. Why not here in Melbourne we say. As a added benefit we also get some true ‘local’ produce, with less actual food miles as well as help green our city at the same time.
Since we started in November 2010, we have been overwhelmed with all the support we have been receiving from local businesses and the community. The way in which the project works is that, we install, maintain and look after the bees at no cost using natural beekeeping methods. Our plan for this in the future is, we will be providing the bees and the hive for free and seeking to get businesses or individuals to sponsor them so we can keep maintaining them and rolling them out all over Melbourne. As much as we would like to do this all for free the project has grown beyond what we are capable of giving.
All of the bees re-homed are those which have been caught, swarms by us or from volunteers of the Melbourne Beekeepers club over spring and summer. During this time we also check on the hives approx every 10-14 days – during winter we generally leave them alone only after we are confident they have enough to stores to survive during these months.
Currently we have 20 hives placed around Melbourne and a offer of another 90+ businesses and individuals wanting to get involved or adopt a hive.
So far our supporters include:
• La Luna Bistro – Carlton
• Ladro Restaurant– Fitzroy & Prahran
• Fatto A Mano Organic Bakery – Fitzroy
• Deco Bar – North Fitzroy
• Roller Door Café – West Melbourne
• Trunk Bar – Melbourne CBD
• The Alto Hotel – Melbourne CBD
As well as half a dozen lovely individuals within 5-10kms of the CBD We also have about 90+ individuals and businesses who are on a waiting list wanting to adopt a hive.
What is on offer is an opportunity for people to get involved as well as, depending on the honey flow for the season we are looking at sharing a portion of the honey for the gesture. We extract the honey, raw and unprocessed which we will do at one of restaurants who have donated their kitchen to help out. Individuals can purchase their own local honey with the balance being sold back to the city community for pick up at a nominated collection points.
My plan will be a success when:
It will be ongoing as there will be re-homing of wild swarms during spring and summer annually. The Honey share working and sales to the city community. Ideally we would like to have numerous hives in the CBD and each suburb in Melbourne.
This project can be modified to be taken overseas.
We would be interested in teaching the communities to look after the hives, breed queens and harvest the honey.
Looking at specific breeds for the areas of deployment, resistance to disease and gentleness/easiness to handle.’
A vision of looking forward towards a greener, more sustainable future.