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My Favorite Thing About 2014: Urban Beekeeping

by on December 29th, 2014

[Disclosure: I am on the board of Bridge Clinic. The bees in this piece sit behind the clinic.]

I am finishing 2014 in a funk, a sort of retrograde depression that has been building for a few months now, and is sort of reaching a fever pitch now.  I am blue, really blue.  But, I wanted to match my main man Mentzer, and he did his best of list so I shall focus on one idea.


Yes, I am really quite inspired by bee keeping.  Not for the bees, or the keeping, but rather for the larger idea that the beekeeping brings to light. We shall get to that in just a bit. Beekeeping is legal in Wausau, City Ordinance 8.08.011.  You need a permit.

Let me explain a little bit about the bees.  Behind Bridge clinic is a hive (I think it is a hive), or a box filled with bees.  They come and go, and do what bees do.  I am not sure what bees do exactly, but I have a friend who has an apple orchard and tells me that bees are the life blood of apple, almonds, and most agriculture in the world.  So, we need bees.

Bridge Clinic is the site of a Community Garden site, and I am going to assume that the bee idea grew out of that.  I met the beekeeper, a cool as hell guy.  And his wife was there.  They explained the bees in great detail, and it is my sense that they are there most of the time caring for the bees.  Maybe, you could try to meet them.

But, now lets start to peel the onion.

I like beekeepers and beekeeping because it reflects a direct hands on approach to agriculture, which is a direct connection to food, which is a direct connection to community. (You see where this is going).

Now, we have a few community gardens throughout central Wisconsin, and they all seem to be supported and supportive of each other.  And the municipalities, much to their credit, see the value (even if they do not get the bee thing) of local agriculture.

I think that bees are the same thing as locally owned record stores that sell locally made music, or locally owned gallery space supporting local artists.  Local creations having impact on our lives, that stuff is cool as hell to me.

I mean think about the stuff that is really sort of happening.  Thrive Foodery is right around the corner.  I have a rough idea what that is, but really I am stoked to see how it comes together.  Then there is the 319 Gallery, which Cheryl reminded me of, a place I have visited a couple of times, and loved.

This year I have spent more time in the Woodson Art Museum, my niece loves it; the cupcake joint, my niece loves it.  There is a lot going on.  I split a big box of produce with a friend.  And sure, some of it is great, and some of it is not great.  But, we are turning the corner, and good things are coming.

So I think bees are a sort of indicator that things are moving, slowly but surely, in a direction that gets us to a better place each day.  Slowly but surely, bees make Wausau better.

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