Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit’s Vacant Lots Into Bee Farms


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A Detroit couple is combating neighborhood blight by transforming abandoned vacant lots into honeybee farms.

Detroit Hives, a nonprofit organization founded by Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey in 2017, purchases vacant properties and remodels them into fully functioning bee farms, per The Huff Post.

“These properties are left abandoned and serve as a dumping ground in most cases,” Paule told HuffPost. “The area can be a breeding ground for environmental hazards, which creates a stigma around the city.”

Paule, a photographer, and Lindsey, a staff member for the health care provider Henry Ford OptimEyes, attribute their inspiration to a cold that he just couldn’t get rid of.


“I went to the local market that I normally go to, and he suggested that I try some local honey for my cough,” Paule said. “He said you consume local honey because it has medicinal properties.” “The couple began to think about how urban blight contributed to allergies through overgrown ragweeds in abandoned areas.” According to the report, “they put producing local honey and erasing urban blight together, and Detroit Hives was born.” “The land bank offers a community partnership program for nonprofits and faith-based organizations to purchase structures or vacant land from the land bank to put back to productive use,” Darnell Adams, director of inventory at the land bank, told HuffPost. “We encourage them to bring their visions and their proposals to the land bank so that we can give them access to land to implement them.”
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Currently, Detroit Hives owns just the one farm, but they’re looking to expand in 2018.

Besides raising honeybees, the nonprofit aims to spread awareness about bees by hosting public tours of the farm.

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“It was a little hard at first because most high-schoolers are afraid of bees or they really don’t care,” Paule said. “So I had to find a unique way to introduce bees to them. One thing they found intriguing is how each honeybee had a unique job.”


Read the full report here.

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