Our bees may be the hardest workers on the farm – and that is saying something! Worker bees travel more than 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to collect pollen to make just one pound of honey. At Growing Power, our apiary is filled with European Honey Bees, or Apis Mellifera. The bees collect nectar from several sources, but in Milwaukee the primary pollen source is white clover and basswood, creating a light yellow, delicious, high-value honey. Each hive produces 150 pounds of honey each year.
We currently have active hives in Milwaukee and Chicago. In July, when the hives are in peak production, each hive has over 60,000 bees. That is 300,000 bees pollinating crops, trees, and flowers in our neighborhood. To put it another way, a 2000 Cornell University study concluded that the direct value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is more than $14.6 billion each year.
As if honey and better crop production wasn’t enough reason to have honey bees, our Chicago Youth Corps also uses the beeswax to create value-added beauty products, such as lip balm, soap, scrubs, and candles. You can purchase products hand-crafted by our youth on our Easy page seasonally.