“According to the Danish social enterprise and co-op, Bybi, it takes more than 66,000 flowers to make one bottle of honey beer. The Copenhagen-based business is one of a throng of social enterprisesworldwide offering much-needed work and training opportunities via bee population-boosting projects.
A European Commission study last year of 32,000 bee hives in 17 countries listed the UK as one of the six countries where the death rate of bees is “unacceptable”. Low honey prices, intensive agriculture, climate change and bee-related diseases were all listed as factors influencing the decline.
There’s a growing demand for urban projects to help bring more bees to city areas to boost effective pollination and the harvest of fruits and berries from trees and bushes. And social enterprises are springing up to meet the challenge.
Those taking the initiative include Liverpool-based Hope Street Honey, run by the multi-award-winning social enterprise Blackburne House. In the past three years, the project has trained more than 100 people, many of who were low-skilled or unemployed, to become beekeepers. Lesley Reith, project manager at Blackburne House, says it’s more than just selling locally-sourced products and giving back to the community; it’s about teaching locals about how they can get acquainted with nature, by doing things like planting a variety of flowers in window boxes to attract more bees.”