On Thursday, September 8, seniors and pollinators collaborated to bring in a hyperlocal honey harvest at Sunridge Gardens seniors community in Murrayville, BC.
In May, as part of a new partnership, Alvéole installed two beehives in the Sunridge Gardens courtyard garden as part of a sustainability and ecological education project. Residents gathered to get a close look at the friendly pollinators as 10,000 and 20,000 bees moved onto the property and started to buzz.
Tended by Alvéole beekeeper Cindy Wei, the bees thrived through the summer and in late August, frames laden with honey were removed from the hives and prepared for harvest. Since 2013, Alvéole has been installing beehives across North America and Europe, educating people about bees and beekeeping, and shedding light on important issues such as pesticide use, monocultures and the loss of biodiversity.
This week, Wei brought in two of the six frames collected from the hives. After a short demonstration, the hands-on honey harvest began. The seniors scraped wax, spun honey in the centrifuge, filtered it and then bottled up their own sample.
All in all, the partnership with Alveole was a success. “At first, I was concerned about keeping bees. I wondered about stinging and swarming,” says Janet Gardiner, a senior who has lived at Sunridge Gardens since 2013, “But I realized how much we need to support our pollinators. This is something we can do to help.”
“Hosting these hives has been a very educational experience for our residents,” says Shannon Saunders, General Manager at Sunridge Gardens. “Learning about where your food comes from is eye-opening no matter what age you are. One of the values of our culinary program is to use local ingredients, and you don’t get any more local than honey harvested in your backyard.”