Beekeeping

Beekeeping is a wonderfully rewarding activity and it has an essential role in supporting wildlife and agricultural production. Bees in the city have an easier life than out in the countryside: the temperature in the capital is generally warmer than in the country and the foraging season is therefore extended, thanks also to a variety of exotic flowers in urban gardens which supply pollen and nectar almost twelve months round. A lot of gardeners are also (hopefully) embracing organic growing, so offering bees flowers which are free from pesticides.

At the Farm, there are a few hives hidden away in a safe place for bees and visitors. From the Apiary, the bees are very active in the Farm’s grounds and in nearbyHaggerstonPark, where they pollinate cherry trees and plum trees. Trees are the main source of nectar for these social insects, whose colonies can build to very large numbers in summer and therefore require more than flowers in gardens can provide. Hackney Farm bees might also visit Victoria Park, as they will travel for up to three miles in search of good nectar sources, but they will keep near the location of the apiary if they can find enough supplies.

The farm experienced beekeepers run a variety of courses over spring and summer to cater for every level of interest, from open beehive days, to one day sessions, to eight weeks classes. Don’t forget that the active beekeeping season runs from February – March to August, so if you’re interested, book early! In summer the honey harvest is held on a day as a community event, giving you an opportunity to see for yourself how the honey gets from the hive to your breakfast table. Honey that you have helped extracting will be on sale at the event and through the Hackney City Farm Shop in the following weeks. Supplies are dependent on weather, available from July onwards, but will run out quickly!

For information and dates of courses contact:

Alessia – beecome@hotmail.co.uk