The life and labor of Philly’s honeybees and their beekeepers

Maria S. Young

For city dwellers, tending to a hive of honeybees is the closest thing one can get to keeping livestock, according to Philadelphia Bee Co. owner and full-time beekeeper Don Shump. Ten years ago, when he was interested in finding a patch of urban land to plant on, he learned he could enroll himself on a three-year waitlist for a plot in city garden.

But beekeeping, he could get into almost immediately.

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Urban beekeeping has taken off in the past decade, in part propelled by mainstream interest in locally sourced food and in part by an increasing awareness of colony collapse. In Philadelphia, there are more than 350 registered honeybee hives. The number of city beekeepers has grown so much that, six years ago, they formed their own organization, the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. They hold an annual event, Honey Festival, that drew 2,500 attendees last year.

City Paper explored the culture of the city’s beekeepers, their hives and the sweet product that flows from them.Read the full story here.

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