All posts in Projects

  • H4H Board of Directors seeking TREASURER

    We are seeking a Treasurer for our Board of Director’s, please find our Job Description for this role here: H4H_BOD_Job_Description_Treasurer_2019docx

    The work of the BOD in 2020 will be to revisit our Strategic Direction, build our Diversity and Inclusion, Equity and Justice statement, and continue to focus and align our work through strategic and heart led leadership, through deep and active listening, with hope, joy and opportunity at the centre.


    • Application deadline: September 5th2019
    • Late September 2019: Interviews, conducted by current Board and CEO;
    • October 2019: AGM elections

    How to apply:

    • Please email your cover letter, explaining why you are interested in this position, along with your resume and references, to 
    • Subject line: H4H BOD 2019 Treasurer

      Photo from one of our workshops at Cathedral Square Park this season, taken by volunteer Whitney Buckner.

  • 2019 Workshops

    Workshop season is upon us, we are hosting workshops with residents and members at our community embedded locations in the DTES, and we also have our summer series of free, all welcome, pollinator workshops with guest facilitators bringing their unique perspectives, understandings and magic to share with us.

    We’d love to see you at one of these:

    Closed toe shoes & light coloured clothing is recommended. All beekeeping equipment will be provided during workshop.

    Wednesday July 3, 2019 from 2pm – Hastings Folk Garden (117 E Hastings St)
    Honey Bee Nutrition with Julia Common, H4H Chief Beekeeper and Co-Founder

    Thursday July 11, 2019 from 2pm -Dunbar Community Centre (4747 Dunbar St)
    Bee Health: managing mites, other pests & pathogens with Paul Van Westendorp, Provincial Apiculturist

    Thursday July 18, 2019 from 2pm Italian Cultural Centre (3075 Slocan St)
    Bee Colony Reproduction: Swarms & Splits with Michalina Hunter and Darwyn Moffatt-Mallett, owners of Green Bee Honey

    Wednesday July 31, 2019 from Hastings Folk Garden (117 E Hastings St)
    Bee Communication: pheromones, dances & lessons from the hive with Mark Winston, Professor and Senior Fellow, SFU Centre for Dialogue

    Thursday August 8, 2019 from 2pm Dunbar Community Centre (4747 Dunbar St)
    Queen Bees: Biology & Lifecycle with Heather Higo, Queen breeder and SFU Bee researcher

    Wednesday August 28, 2019 at 2pm Hastings Folk Garden (117 E Hastings St)
    Season Celebration with Fairmont Waterfront Hotel


    We also have beekeeping workshops at Cathedral Square: 566 Richards Street

    Thursdays at Noon on June 6, June 27th, July 4th and August 1st.


    And as a bonus:

  • DTES Seed Library: Season Launch

    All are welcome to our DTES Seed Library Season Launch: March 13th, 2019, at 2pm at the Carnegie Centre Library.

    We will have: honey tasting, a newspaper pot making activity, a poetry reading from the Bear Whisperer, and brief history of the project from one of gardener/beekeepers Jim, and seeds to share.

    Thanks to West Coast Seeds, UBC Farm, Saltspring Seeds, BC Eco Seed Coop and Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants, for donations and support over the years, and to the folks at Carnegie for hosting the library. Check out their selection of Bee books while you are there: the Bee Library!!


  • Report is Out: honey bees monitoring pollution

    What began as an initiative to show our honey is safe for consumption has done that and also become much more: the report is out!…/honey-bees-can-help-monitor-pollutio…/

    In a study published today in Nature Sustainability, scientists from UBC’s Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) Research (PCIGR) analyzed honey from urban beehives in six Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods. They tested for minuscule levels of lead, zinc, copper and other elements and carried out lead isotope analyses – akin to fingerprinting – to identify where the lead came from.

    “The good news is that the chemical composition of honey in Vancouver reflects its environment and is extremely clean,” said Kate E. Smith, lead author of the study and PhD candidate at PCIGR. “We also found that the concentration of elements increased the closer you got to downtown Vancouver, and by fingerprinting the lead we can tell it largely comes from manmade sources.””

  • We are Hiring: Lead Beekeeper!



    Hives for Humanity is a Non-Profit Society that seeks to create meaningful opportunities for engagement in supportive and inclusive community, through the bees.  We are looking for a beekeeper to join our team, to mentor under our Chief Beekeeper, taking over responsibility for the health of our honeybee colonies in our Urban Therapeutic Apiaries in Vancouver, and supporting colonies in Delta.

    This position will work closely with our CEO and Community Engagement team to support training and work opportunities, community and public engagement at all sites, but will be primarily focused on colony health.

    We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our team, building our capacity to offer our programming, through a model that demonstrates the interconnection of social and environmental justice.

    Position Title: Lead Beekeeper

    Posted: Feb 25th2019

    Applications due:March 11th, 2019


    • Seasonal work: April – October: 3days/week.
    • November – March: 1day/week.

    Wage: $22/hr, with review and basic health benefits after 3 months.

    Start Date:April 1st, 2019

    Skills Required:

    This work is suited to someone with the following skills:

    • Five years or more of beekeeping experience, capable of independently managing colonies for health and honey production;
    • Strong leadership, communication and self-reflection skills;
    • Physical capacity to lift beekeeping equipment (50lbs), and capacity to work alone.


    • Work with openness and dedication to fulfill the vision and mission of the Society.
    • Maintain and promote the health of all assigned H4H honeybee colonies, managing:
      • Nutrition, temperament, balance, disease, loss, replacement of livestock and production of honey.
      • Cleanliness and appearance of apiaries.
    • Report on colony health to Chief Beekeeper, taking direction for management and treatment, making timely requests for support, and tracking colony health.
      • Colonies: 50 in the city, in sets of 1, 2, and 4 depending on location, with larger yards in Delta of up to 30.
      • Various locations including community gardens, rooftops of supportive housing and business partnerships, community centres, farms and fields.
    • Build and maintain professional relationships with partners and participants in programming.
    • Support delivery and facilitation of beekeeping workshops, courses and mentorship program, following Best Practices.
    • Transportation: hold a valid driver’s licence. Reimbursement based on km for use of personal vehicle.

     Please look over our website www.hivesforhumanity.comfor further information about our work.

    Thank you for your consideration; we appreciate all applications, and will only be getting back to those we are calling forward.


    Sarah Common
    Chief Executive, 
    Hives for Humanity Society


  • New Year 2019

    Happy New Year, H4H Hive!

    We are grateful for all of your contributions: your support, volunteering, pollinator planting, bee advocacy, social and environmental justice, inclusion and diversity work, all make our programs and opportunities possible.

    Together we are building the future we hope for – where all ways of knowing and being, all people, plants and pollinators, are respected and honoured in reciprocal relationships of dignity.

    Hope is not an easy road, it requires a balancing of light and dark; facing truths about ourselves and our systems; acknowledging and owning our impacts instead of externalizing them; and taking action that is collaborative and that empowers voices that are marginalized and silenced. But let’s continue to chose the roads that are challenging, for it is on them that we grow!

    Thank you for growing with us.

    Keep an eye on our calendar for events,  we are starting to schedule our Beginner and Intermediate Beekeeping courses for the spring, and to look ahead to beekeeping workshops for the summer.


  • Fairmont Waterfront Solidarity

    Our partnership with the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver began in 2014 with the launch of Governor General of Canada Award Winning book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive by Mark Winston. Incredible how bees bring community together, time and again.

    We have been building the partnership steadily every year, supporting our programming, and creating opportunities for meaningful work and experiential education. The Fairmont Waterfront has supported our Pollinator Corridor Project – pollinator advocacy in the form of community workshops, and installations of forage and habitat. We manage the health of the hives on the 3rd floor garden of the hotel, engaging visitors through the wonder of the bees. We dress the tables each year for Earth Hour with our hand poured beeswax candles. We maintain the chef’s garden at the hotel, growing food for bees and for feature in the Arc Dining restaurant downstairs. And we are building native plants into a West Coast Garden to provide further opportunity for connection.

    We are excited to announce that we have received a Solidarity grant from the AccorHotels’ group that the Fairmont Waterfront is a part of, to support our work in Building Community through Bees.

    We offer inclusive and supportive training and workshop opportunities in our urban apiaries through this support and partnership, with the following objectives:

    – To build opportunities for skills sharing and learning, grounded in nature and inclusive community across socio-economic strata

    – To create meaningful training and employment opportunities for people facing barriers to stability grounded in green skills.

    – To enhance three urban pollinator gardens and add forage and habitat for pollinators in our city

    – To create educational, interpretive signage for three pollinator garden sites to improve communication, better engage visitors, and to build a shareable tool as a model for other communities.

    -To deepen the relationship of social and environmental sustainability between Fairmont Waterfront and the surrounding community, to create story-telling opportunities and to link the Fairmont Waterfront to the surrounding community.

    Thank you Fairmont Waterfront and AccorHotels! We look forward to sharing these spaces with you, building community through the bees.

  • Winter Markets and Gin Honey Launch!

    We are pleased to announce a series of upcoming markets and the launch of our Gin Barrel-Aged honey in collaboration with Odd Society Spirits:

    NOV 23 5pm-8pm
    at Italian Cultural Centre
    Winter Market: candles, ICC honey, natural self-care

    Nov 24: 10am – 6pm
    at Dunbar Community Centre
    Winter Market: DCC Honey

    NOV 25: 1pm until sold out
    at Odd Society Spirits
    Launch: Gin Barrel-Aged Honey!

    Dec 1: 1pm-4pm
    at Strathcona Community Centre
    Winter Market: candles, honey, natural self-care

    DEC 8&9: 10am-5pm
    at East Side Flea: candles, East Van honey, natural self-care

    Thanks for your support, we look forward to seeing you over some honey soon;
    Keep an eye on our calendar and sign up for our newsletter for updates!

  • Online Store Launch: GIFT BOXES

    We are excited to announce the launch of our online store, with the creation of 50 sweet and special gift boxes available now! These contain treats for you and yours to enjoy, and support our non-profit programming. Help us raise funds – spread the word, gift a box!

    Thank you, 

    The H4H team 

  • Harvest Celebration with Fairmont Waterfront

    Our wonderful partners at Fairmont Waterfront brought us a delicious luncheon yesterday at Hastings Urban Farm: 125 pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, ice cold real lemonades, and the legendary burned-honey-ice-cream!

    Here is a favourite photo from the day, two of our DTES Volunteers, Ali and Wilma, enjoying a slice of shade and time together.

    Sharing joy, offering dignity through food and work, connecting it all through the magic of the bees.

    Thanks to everyone at the Fairmont Waterfront, Chef and team, for the day (fifth annual!!), we loved it!


  • Guest Post: If my Mother were a Bee

    Guest Post: If My Mother Were a Bee

    Many thanks to our fantastic volunteer, Rebeka, for writing this fun guest post, in celebration of Mothers – insect and otherwise! Read on to discover the wonderful world of bee-mothers.

    If you’re looking for a fun Mother’s Day activity, consider visiting us at Faculty Brewing for a pop-up PLUS special honey hefe beer from 1-5pm, May 13th!

    An ode to all types of mothers, human and insect.

    Stumped on what to get mum this Mother’s Day? Fear not! The bees are here to help you decide. Just like for us humans, bee motherhood comes in many different forms. From sassy to savvy to sweet, find out what the mother in your life craves to feel loved and appreciated this Mother’s Day.

    Honey, you should see me in a crown
    If your mum is high-maintenance and fiery, she might be the ultimate diva: a honeybee queen. This queen would literally die without attention – and I literally mean literally. Honeybee queens are doted on by a court of worker bees, who not only feed her, groom her, and dispose of her waste, but actually digest her food for her.

    This ruler is anything but lazy though. In fact, her stinger is primed for a battle to the death. A worker bee’s stinger is barbed, causing it to be lodged in their target when they sting. This results in the bee dying shortly thereafter, so they can only sting once. Queen bees on the other hand have smooth stingers that can be used multiple times, like in a death match against a rival queen. For when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

    If you think your mum can relate to this ruthless ruler, make sure she’s spoiled this Mother’s Day. Maybe some Hives for Humanity honey and hand-rolled beeswax candles? And if you’re treating her to lunch, maybe let her chew her own food.

    All hail the humble bumble mum
    Is your mum resourceful and clever, with a take-charge attitude? Then she must be a badass bumblebee queen. These tough queens endure harsh winters, hidden and alone, and once spring comes around, the real work begins. She must eat, find a nesting site, build her nest, prepare a wax honey pot, and forage for nectar and pollen before she can lay her eggs – phew! But even this powerhouse has a soft side: a bumblebee queen will actually lay on her eggs to keep them warm until they are ready to hatch, just like a mother bird.

    After a little while longer of foraging for pollen and feeding her newly hatched offspring, the first brood will finally emerge as bumblebee adults, and mama can relax a little. The bumblebee colony will flourish in numbers as worker bees help incubate more eggs that the queen continues to produce until the end of the summer. With a life span of only one year, the exhausted queen will pass the torch onto new queens, and the cycle continues.

    A superstar mum like yours deserves a little help from her offspring this Mother’s Day. Actually, I’m sure she would appreciate a little more help year-round. And if you don’t pitch in with a few chores, don’t be surprised if she sits on you.

    Blue-collar buzzing babes

    A sweet yet hard-working mama would empathize most with the modest mason bee. This is a solitary bee species, which is much different from both the honeybee and bumblebee; no hive, no queen, and their appearance can vary. In fact, the Blue Orchard mason bee, commonly found on the North Shore, looks more like a metallic blue and black fly. Only females have stingers, but these passive little sweethearts don’t mean you any harm! On the rare occasion that they do sting, their stingers have no venom to inject, making the sting feel more like a fly bite.

    Mason bees are also known to be excellent pollinators. It is estimated that a female blue orchard bee visits 1875 flowers to collect enough pollen and nectar for a single tube of offspring. She will work on filling about three tubes over the summer – a real working-class woman! But before you start thinking that mason bee mothers are all work and no play, these bashful little creatures like to get down and dirty…with mud. Where honeybees use wax to seal off cells containing eggs, mason bees, like their name suggests, use mud to seal off the ends of the tubes. Make sure to check out Hives for Humanity’s blog covering Mason Bee Resources to learn more!

    If your mum is anything like a mason bee, make sure she gets the chance to relax this Mother’s Day. Perhaps a homemade spa kit? A mud mask might be just what she needs to reset!

    Whomever you have as a motherly figure in your life, use this day to show your love and appreciation for all they do! As Denise Mckay so beautifully reminds us in her poem, Mother Earth, “Most of all I am grateful every day for the gifts my Mother and Mother Earth has given me and continues to give me each and every day.” (2007)

    Mother Earth

    She reminds me of my own Mother.

    She has many scars that are not Her fault.
    She has seen many battles and has endured
    each and every one of them.

    She has never stopped supporting me though.
    She still continues to protect me and looks over me.
    She gave me the tools I need to survive.

    I return the favor by supporting Her, protecting Her, and
    giving Her the tools she needs to survive.

    Most of all I am grateful every day for the gifts my
    Mother and Mother Earth has given me and continues
    to give me each and every day.

    Denise Mckay


  • YMCA Youth Internships

    Ben, our second youth intern from YMCA, for Feb-April 2018, just completed his last day, and wrote up some thoughts on his experience to share. Building skills, sharing experience, and working together in community: this is the good stuff! 

    If are able to donate to support opportunities like this, please see our donate page!

    Above: Ben with Sarah and Cassie, sharing a cinnamon bun in celebration!

    Ben’s post follows:

    Terrific is the only word I can use to describe my time at Hives for Humanity.
    I’ve had a great time working with this amazing group of people and learning more all the time. 
    If I had to choose one thing that I will take foward with me it would have to be bottling honey. I have found it really enjoyable and find that it relaxes me and accents my skill for attention to detail perfectly.
    I remember one day when a deaf man came in looking for some candles and when I realized he was deaf it caused me to reevaluate how I had been interacting with everyone who came through the door. As I was thinking about how I talked to people and discovered that I used too many meaningless words (like, yeah, um). And have been working on making my speech patterns easier to follow. 
    From here I’m hoping to find a job in garden/farm work. A passion that I wouldn’t have been able to exercise without my experience at the Hastings Urban Farm.
    In closing I would just like to say how special Hives for Humanity really is and I look forward to working with everyone in the future.
  • Hastings Urban Farm Update

    THE HASTINGS URBAN FARM: urban farming, community empowerment, pollinator forage and habitat!

    From 58 W. Hastings & 117 E. Hastings, to 501 Powell and beyond! The Hastings Urban Farm is a multi-site partnership between the PHS Community Service Society and Hives for Humanity Society, supported by the City of Vancouver.

    The sites have rich histories of people, programming and partnerships, which we are proud to honour and share. Please download and read the notice below for updates on the Hastings Urban Farm (58 W. Hastings, 501 Powell) and Hastings Folk Garden (117 E. Hasting) sites.

    > Download  + Read the Hastings Urban Farm Update (PDF)

    All sites and programs take place on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

    The Place Where The Maples Grow. Vancouver.

  • Fun and Funds!

    You are invited to our Fundraiser!

    Plan to attend this casual (free) fundraiser event coming up on April 3rd from 6-9pm at Luppolo Brewery
    in partnership with the incomprable EartHand Gleaners Society.

    There will be a silent auction – with unique, gorgeous, hand made items from the Salmon Leather Guild and Abeego Weavers Guild

    There will be food and drink specials, so bring friends!

    There will be storytelling – featuring special guest Lori Weidenhammer, author of “Victory Gardens for Bees.

    All funds raised will go to support inclusive, shared programming to connect people to community, nature and traditional skills.

    >> More info here or see our april3poster

  • YMCA + H4H: Youth Employment Program!

    We have been building our connection to youth with a YMCA Youth Employment Bootcamp – this partnership emerged from a Youth in Social Enterprise Study we participated in, and we are now hosting our second practicum youth. It’s been fun getting to share our lively, busy and unique work space with these program participants. Ben has taken part in all aspects of our operations, and it’s been a pleasure getting to share the work we love with him, and have him contribute his time, energy and skills too! We’ve asked each participant to contribute to our blog, and we’re pleased to share his guest post below.

    Guest blog post from Ben:

    I was first formally introduced to Hives for Humanity through the YMCA’s training program called the “Youth Employment Bootcamp” which is a program for helping a group of roughly twelve 15 – 30 year-olds find employment, whether it’s their first job or a complete change in career.

    I had heard of Hives for Humanity (H4H) only in passing but, upon researching it, I found out how closely my interests aligned with H4H I was super interested!

    I was very apprehensive before starting to work in the Downtown Eastside as I had lived in the west side my whole life and had heard of many stories about confrontations and how dangerous the people were. But as I’ve worked here and gotten to meet quite a few people who call the DTES home, I have become more and more comfortable with the neighbourhood and the individuals who are more often than not victims of circumstance.

    It was amazing working on the seed library with a big group of about seven people and seeing the efficiency of a group so big with good communication.

    In my experience with filtering honey I’ve discovered just how precise and thorough you have to be in order to ensure no particles of wax or other contaminates make it into the honey bottling process.

    So far, working on the farm has been fun and rewarding to see and better by the end of each session. However it has also been wet and freezing most days which definitely makes working outside more challenging!

    It’s been incredibly interesting getting to see candles being made, and having the chance to make some candles myself has been fun and engaging.

    I had heard about how important seed saving is but had no experience with it. Not only has the seed library program taught me how to separate the seeds from their plants but it’s also taught me about the plants themselves – like how milkweed fluff is used for pillows and weaving.

    Honey can be drastically different from neighbourhood to neighbourhood – things like consistency and flavour are often affected and this is because of the various types of plants.

    Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time at H4H and I look forward to working with everyone more in the future!

  • PechaKucha Night Vol. 44

    PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format. Every PechaKucha Night city is hosted by a local organiser, who has an annual Handshake Agreement with PechaKucha HQ to run their event series. This ensures that each PechaKucha Night is relevant to their city- and can create a unique platform to uncover that city’s creativity. Learn more here:

    In case you missed the sold out Pecha Kucha Vol. 44 evening, you can watch the recordings of all the speakers via the link below!

    PechaKucha Vol. 44:


  • The Power of Bees: Team building workshops!

    Are you looking for a unique and unforgettable experience for your team/group? Want to connect to the natural world around you and learn something new?

    As always, nature is the best teacher – bees have a way of capturing our curiosity – through their vibrations, communication, and magic! Delving into the world of bees with our enthusiastic beekeepers can ignite imaginations, spark inspiration, and create moments of reflection as we appreciate the lessons of these incredible creatures.

    Beekeeping is an experience like no other. Our presentations and workshops explore all aspects of community beekeeping, offering historical, biological, social and cultural insights. Get in touch with us to talk about your team, your goals and how we can create a flexible, fun, and engaging experience!

    We are more than beekeepers. Bees are much more than honey.

    > Pollinator & Community Health
    > Communication & Team-building
    > Mindfulness, Self-Worth & Community Pride
    > Connection & Reciprocity
    > Advocacy

    > Therapeutic Hive Tour & Team Building Experiences
    > Speaking Engagements
    > Classroom Presentations
    – with portable demonstration hive
    – with bee-centric activity/craft

    To hear what the team at Routific Solutions thought of their hive tour, check out this article from Huffington Post

    Excerpt from article: “From behind my beekeeping veil, time seemed to dribble to a gooey halt and I became engrossed in the bees that were crawling, floating, darting and taking flight in a seemingly frenetic yet purposeful way. This heightened awareness allowed me to experience an intense focus that rarely arises in me, a modern, multi-tasking human being.”

    To read full workshop options, full descriptions, view pricing and schedule, download our Workshop Info Package PDF!

    Any questions or ideas – please get in touch:

  • Volunteer Opportunities

    Thank you to all the volunteers for your willingness to share your time, energy, skills and joy with us! We are seeking committed volunteers for the following positions. Please click on the titles below to download PDF with full descriptions and details on how to apply.

    Project-based Photography
    Project-based Videography
    Seed Library Coordinator – positions filled for 2018, thank you!
    Event Support
    Farm/Garden Support

    Not seeing a position for you or want to share/gain another skill? Email us to discuss:

    – Access a 20% discount on our honey and merchandise after 10 hours of volunteering
    – Invitations to all of our community gathering events such as end of harvest lunch
    – Meet new people and be a part of a society that encourages connections through beekeeping!

    – All volunteer positions are unpaid
    – Availability to work weekdays, some weekends may be needed
    – Minimum 3 months commitment is preferred
    – Additional terms to be mutually discussed

  • Save the Date: Beekeeper’s Journey Event January 20th

    A Beekeeper’s Journey: January, 20th 2018

    Join us for a beecentric evening of art, music, complimentary canapés, and story-telling

    with special guest speakers Mark Winston, Governor General’s Literary Award winner and internationally recognized professor of apiculture and social insects; Renée Saklikar, award-winning poet and writer of thecanadaproject; Paul Van Westendorp, provincial apiculturist for British Columbia; Ali McAfee, author for American Bee Journal and PhD candidate; John Gibeau, President of Honeybee Centre and co-founder of the Bee World Project; Julia Common, Master Beekeeper, BCHPA instructor and Chief Beekeeper at Hives for Humanity; and Lindsay Dault, Master Beekeeper, BCHPA instructor and owner of Urban Bee Supplies Inc. & Urban Bee Honey Farm.

    January 20, 2018
    6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
    $69 per person

    Click here for Eventbrite Link & Tickets



  • Winter Break 2017

    We are taking a break from all programming Dec 15 2017 – Jan 2 2018!

    It has been another incredible year working with people and pollinators to enhance community, foster self-worth, and create meaningful opportunities for work and connection … all through the bees!

    We wish you the best over this winter break, as the solstice turns dark back towards light, we continue to learn and grow together.

    Thank you for being a part of our 2017, we look forward to beekeeping, gardening, woodworking, honey tasting, researching, celebrating, storytelling with you in 2018!


    The team at Hives for Humanity