“OUR GOAL İS TO CREATE AN URBAN HONEY İNDUSTRY THAT CAN ENRİCH THE LOCAL ENVİRONMENT AND PROVİDE OPPORTUNİTİES FOR PEOPLE AT THE FRİNGES OF THE EMPLOYMENT MARKET.”
In cooperation with private businesses and NGOs, Copenhagen City Bee puts beehives on top of buildings and in parks around the city. Each hive is tended by one of the City Bee employees, who looks after the hives and collects the honey.
The beekeepers (many of whom were originally refugees) have been marginalized from society for a number of different reasons. But no matter their individual backgrounds, their work with the bees can be beneficial to them in a variety of ways.
“I think it is the fundamental challenge of our time to find a way to be productive in our urban areas that also helps the environment,” Oliver Maxwell, the project owner, says – and explains one of its advantages.
“For the refugees we work with it gives them a sense of connection to Copenhagen,” Oliver Maxwell says.
Standing on top of Copenhagen City Hall, Oliver Maxwell takes a quick look at the city’s skyline. Greenish-bronze rooftops and church towers dominate the view. Fifty metres below him, City Hall Square is a busy maze of tourists, newlyweds, pigeons and commuters. However, Oliver Maxwell has no time to enjoy the view. His focus is on the microcosm on the roof: three polystyrene boxes containing the City Bees need looking after.
The goal is to produce 50 tons of Copenhagen honey every year. Perhaps this year that goal is too ambitious. But the bees and the hives need tending to nevertheless … and that keeps all of City Bees’ employees occupied for the entire season.