There are a number of reasons that people engage in tending to honey bees. For many the bees are used to provide pollination of crops. Migratory beekeepers carry hives great distances to provide pollination service to farms and orchards as crops come into bloom. Other beekeepers tend to stationary bee hives to provide pollination service and produce honey crops. Commercial beekeepers grow bees to sell the queens, packaged bees, and nucleus colonies. Homeowners and gardeners tend to bee hives to produce honey and pollinate home gardens. Observation bee hives are kept in schools, zoos, museums, and public areas for educational purposes. Colleges and universities maintain bee yards for teaching and research. Some people keep honey bees simply for the enjoyment of watching and listening to the bees. Many of these enthusiasts never harvest any honey.
In today’s photo, Mary Phillips is building bee hives for the Urban Farms in the Binghampton neighborhood of Memphis. She is assembling Langstroth hives in the wood shop at Peace Bee Farm. We always enjoy having her back at the bee farm. She worked with us to gain experience in beekeeping, and now she is adding honey bees to the Urban Farms to ensure pollination of their crops. The Urban Farms regularly see visitors; many are neighborhood children who are not aware of the source of food or how it is produced. For them the bee hives will help explain the important role of pollination in food production. The Urban Farms and their manager, Mary Phillips, are working to ensure the inner city area has access to healthy, locally produced food. The Urban Farms was voted a Local Hero award by the readers of Edible Memphis magazine. Edible Memphis, a quarterly magazine devoted to the harvest of the Mid-South builds ties between farmers, food artisans, and the community. The magazine can be found at www.ediblememphis.com. You can follow activity at the Urban Farms at http://www.bdcmemphis.org/urban_farms.html. These bee hives will pollinate and educate.--Richard