Announcing the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant recipients

Most of East Oakland is considered a “food desert” by the USDA with only two grocery stores within three miles providing limited fresh produce. Honeybee Conservancy provided bees in 2016 to Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project’s quarter-acre organic farm, which produces food for local residents. Photo courtesy of Farmer Veteran Coalition

We launched the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant in 2015 with a simple idea – strategically place honey and solitary bees in locations where they can bolster bee populations, advance education and pollinate locally grown food.

To qualify for the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant, nonprofits go through a comprehensive application and evaluation process.  From this broad group of qualified candidates, we selected 14 organizations across 10 states to receive a donation of bee home along with honey, mason and/or leafcutter bees. We’re proud to announce this year’s recipients of the Sponsor-A-Hive Grant. Please join us in congratulating to the winners in the comments section at the bottom of this page!

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (CA) – Most of East Oakland is considered a “food desert” by the USDA. ANV’s quarter-acre organic farm, located in East Oakland, is planned, planted, and harvested year-round by children in grades K-8. The students also sell the farm produce to local residents. The gentle Sponsor-a-Hive bees will pollinate the ANV garden and act as an educational tool for youth participating in their seasonal camps as well as their After-School Program. (Image shown above: Acta Non Verba. Photo courtesy of Farmer Veteran Coalition)

Bee Public and Earth Charter (IN) – Through publicly placed bee hives, educational talks and classes,  social media and community outreach this partnership educates and engages thousands of young students about sustainability and the importance of bees– both honeybees and native bees. The bee hive will be used at a pollinator habitat for hands-on education with 4th and 5th graders.

Bee Public's Kate Franzman. Photo: Kelly Wilkinson, The Indianapolis Star via AP

Bee Public’s Kate Franzman. Photo: Kelly Wilkinson, The Indianapolis Star via AP

Center for Local Self Reliance (WA) – The Sponsor-A-Hive bees will be used as an educational resource for the community, as well as increasing yields in the community gardens and orchard. Food from the gardens & orchard are being distributed to the underserved/low income population in Bellingham, Washington. Within their community garden, there are a four non-profit groups using our 1.8 acre site: an alternative High School that grows food for school lunches and the local food bank; a program for developmentally disabled adults with a food-to-table program; a faith-driven program that grows food for a halfway house for foster children; a low income senior housing organization that grows food for its members.

City Green, Inc. (NJ) – This lush urban farm grows a diversity of fruit and vegetable crops as well as raises chickens and goats – and now a new colony of bees!  Their farm is an educational resource for the community. Over the course of a year, they host over 1,000 students for hands-on learning experiences.

Cleveland Botanical Garden (OH) has 5 learning farms in “food deserts throughout the city of Cleveland where we have high school students work each summer, learning to plant, tend, harvest and sell produce to the community. By eventually having bee hives at their farms, all of the students will get the opportunity to learn about bees.

Eastern Connecticut Community Gardens Association (CT) Two abandoned lots were transformed into a Giving Garden at Coogan Farm in Mystic, Connecticut. The Garden has already raised 3,500 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables for the region’s hungry families, and reached 22,000 people with a free, nutritious and GMO-free food. The Sponsor-A-Hive bees will help increase production of the food as well as serve as an educational resource for the volunteers and community. Food is donated to the Gemma Moran Food Center in New London which then distributes the food to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior citizen centers, preschools, Veterans centers and a myriad of other social service organizations.

Giving Garden

Bountiful containers of produce at Giving Garden

Elegant Clinical Corporation (CT). ECC is a groundbreaking program fostering emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical well-being among people with special abilities. The Sponsor-A-Hive bees will pollinate the vegetables in their garden, which they offer to the community.

Friends of For-Mar Foundation (MI) – This 260-acre nature preserve was established as a place for nature study, wildlife habitat and conservation education. It hosts over 28,000 visitors annually.  The Sponsor-A-Hive pollinators will be housed in the Children’s and Community Garden. The bees will be incorporated into youth and adult classes emphasizing the importance of pollinators to a healthy ecosystem and our food system.

Gannon University’s Goodwill Garden (PA) – With seven census tracts in the City of Erie designated as a “food desert” by the US Department of Agriculture, and 29 percent of the population living below the poverty line, many Erie residents lack access to adequate, nutritious food.  The Sponsor-A-Hive bees will be a key feature in forthcoming workshops on bees with topics such as: how to attract bees to a garden, how to incorporate ‘bee-friendly’ plants in home landscaping, the pollination process, and how to care for a hive.  It is the goal of the garden to increase the yield that is donated to nearby emergency food pantries as well as to continue our educational outreach through workshops, summer programming and special events.

Greater Newark Conservancy (NJ). Their 1.5 acre Urban Environmental Center features themed teaching gardens, an educational greenhouse, and a demonstration kitchen. They partner with over 50 local schools to promote environmental stewardship and improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities. A bee house will mainly be used as an educational resource during school programs teaching youth about pollinators and their importance for our ecosystem, as well as increase produce yield for use in our demonstration kitchens, where they teach youth and adult community members how to prepare healthy, garden fresh meals. With success in bee keeping, they hope to build more homes to integrate into our two farm sites and over 20 community garden sites to increase pollinator populations.

Eager students at a Greater Newark Conservancy garden education class. The Conservancy also was awarded a bee grant

Eager students at a Greater Newark Conservancy garden education class. The Conservancy also was awarded a bee grant

PS 49X – The Willis Ave School (NY) PS 49 received a Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant to provide an opportunity to expose and educate the children to bee keeping as well as the environmental connections between bees as pollinators and their school garden, The Garden of Eve.  

The Land Trust for Tennessee (TN) – Their 65-acre Glen Leven Farm is located 4 miles south of downtown Nashville and a field trip destination for dozens of Nashville-area schools, to promote knowledge and understanding-of history, agriculture, and the environment. The bee house will help increase yields of onsite educational gardens and serve as an educational resource.

Matt Slocum, Bee Keeping demonstration at The Land Trust for Tennessee, on of the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant receipients

Matt Slocum, Bee Keeping demonstration at The Land Trust for Tennessee, on of the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant receipients

The Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MD) is the non-profit arm of the 149 acre Baltimore County Ag Center and Farm Park – a public park. With the bees provided by the Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant, MARC hopes to expand its educational programming to include other bee species. The placement of the solitary bees would be in their demonstration garden area which features 10 different types of gardens, and which is used to educate the public.

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (SD) recently launched a Food Sovereignty Initiative to create a healthy local food system on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation located in Southwest South Dakota. This Lakota reservation is a food desert and the closest grocery store is 90 miles away.  The Sponsor-A-Hive bees provided through the bee grant will pollinate a community garden planted and maintained by 10 high school

Thunder Valley CDC receiving their Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant

Thunder Valley CDC receiving their Sponsor-A-Hive bee grant