Pittsburgh is now home to the U.S.'s first community apiary -- a community garden of sorts, but instead of herbs and veggies being grown, it's bees being kept.
The apiary hosted a ribbon cutting on Friday at its new site on a strip of long-vacant, blighted land along the East Busway and across the street from local microbrewer East End Brewing Company. Beekeeping nonprofit Burgh Bees was granted a free, five-year lease from the URA and the Mayor's office, says co-founder Meredith Meyer Grelli.
"This is going to be a great site for beekeepers and also a great place for the community," says Meyer Grelli. "We wanted to come up with a site that inspires creative reuse of the urban land with an eye toward the environment."
Meyer Grelli says other apiaries around the country are oriented more to demonstration, but Burgh Bees' cooperative apiary is an entirely new model for the U.S. The apiary hosts five hives exclusively for teaching new beekeepers, and also offers space to newly trained beekeepers to keep hives of their own. It also hosts a pollinator garden that is maintained by community volunteers, including residents and students. The apiary itself is funded with donations from individuals and foundations, and by sales from honey.
Burgh Bees had will continue to operate the hives it installed this past year in Mt. Washington at the Pittsburgh Zoo, but will close its hives in Hazelwood and Braddock to focus on the Homewood headquarters.
Burgh Bees has about 400 members, and in the last two years, has trained about 110 Pittsburghers in beekeeping.
Sign up to receive Pop City each week.
Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Meredith Meyer Grelli, Burgh Bees
Image courtesy of Burgh Bees