Beekeeping: Making Honey in its Purest Form

by Ardena Doss for SUST 210

Beekeeper Kevin MacGregor inspects hives Wednesday at the Hanover Park Community Apiary. (Stacy Wescott, Chicago Tribune)

Beekeeper Kevin MacGregor inspects hives Wednesday at the Hanover Park Community Apiary. (Stacy Wescott, Chicago Tribune)

Healthy eating has become more then a buzzword. Communities are finding ways to grow organic foods and to service their neighboring communities. Schaumburg is no stranger to being a progressive thinker when it comes to sustainability. Among its initiatives is constructing an infrastructure to house bees, for the purpose of harvesting honey for the community. According to the article, “Schaumburg’s Plan for a Bee Yard Doesn’t Fly with Neighbors,” published in the Chicago Tribune back in March of 2013 and written by Sally Ho, “the Schaumburg Village Board approved the new public beehive haven – a 1,600-square-foot, fenced-in area at the edge of a 16-acre lot where residents can apply to keep up to three honeybee hives.” A major significant of Schaumburg’s expansion will allow individual residents to maintain their own bees and harvest their own honey. This effort denotes being proactive in securing a sustainable future while providing food that has a nutritional value.

In the United States of America obesity is a major concern. In order to address obesity, we need to address how food is manufactured. Harvesting honey from bees is an alternative to artificial sweeteners, such as fructose syrup. As we have learned in our SUST 210 course, the consumption of food should involve calories that have good nutritional value (Pollen, “Farmer in Chief”, 2008). Moreover, reducing the use of fossil fuel can be accomplished by utilizing nature’s natural production of food, such as harvesting honey from beehive havens.

Picture of beehives and Kevin MacGregor

Picture of beehives and Kevin MacGregor

Public beehive havens are not a new concept in the Midwest. Hanover Park Community Apiary was instrumental in Schaumburg’s decision to build a new public beehive. According to the Cook – Dupage Beekeepers Association website, Hanover Park Community Apiary “is the first publicly-sponsored apiary in the Midwest . . . [that] provides a convenient and secure hive location for Chicago area beekeepers.” Raising bees can be seen by some as a threat to a community, but if the beehive havens are carefully managed they can be a healthy alternative to the ecosystem. The benefits of constructing public beehive havens may one day reduce the fear of bees that is embedded within society and prove to be worth the investment in other suburbs. Isolation and control are essential to breeding bees and to harvesting honey efficiently and safely.

Sources

Each week during the Fall 2014 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future and SUST 240 Waste classes at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on urban and suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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