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Building community, creating income and employment

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2010

The benefits of urban beekeeping are substantial. Despite the conventional view of the city as a slough of pollution, urban honey is likely to have significantly less chemical residue than commercial honey made beyond the boroughs. This is partly due to the high levels of pesticides in commercial agriculture and partly because small-scale beekeepers tend to use fewer drugs in the care of their hives than commercial operators.

Bees pollinate crops for the entire neighborhood. They aren’t just making honey: they’re building community, creating income and employment and maintaining vital urban green space.

Local honey will benefit the health of the planet as well: minor transportation costs, no-fuss manufacturing (courtesy of the bees), minimal processing, simple recyclable packaging and centralized retailing provide a model of effective, low-carbon production and distribution.

So what can City Hall do? For starters, like other cities in the United States and overseas, [Palo Alto] could support urban beekeeping through small grants, through tax incentives for both beekeepers and building owners, through public education programs and by getting hives into city schools as educational and perhaps fund-raising tools.

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