It’s easy sometimes to forget about the space we take up in the world and the way we choose to interact with every single part of the environment around us. I talk about delicate balances all the time, and there’s of course that saying in regard to every action having an opposite reaction. It’s very easy to be aware of the more noticeable elements of our environment, it seems as though every day we are learning about a new species that needs our help. But what about those we can (barely) see? You’ll notice them in spring, simply going about their busy business, rocking stripes with a strange affiliation for flowers. For those playing at home, I’m of course talking about bees.
These little guys are so much more than simply producers of delicious honey, they are literally making sure the food we need to stay alive is continually pollinated and thriving. The bleak truth is, without bees, we wouldn't last a red hot minute. Thankfully there are people like Kelly and Anna, who understand just how dire the situation would be, in a bee-less word so to speak, and as they are spending the time helping the bees, they need your help, so they can continue the wonderful work they do, as both conservationists and members of our extraordinary town. Walking into their house one sunny spring afternoon I was bombarded with life. An abundance of greenery and just an honest sense of tranquility. Keen for a chat as always, I sat down with Kelly and Anna, from Urban Hum, to find our more about their business and their love for bees.
So where did it all begin? “It began right here in our back yard, we’ve always had veggie gardens and they weren’t getting pollinated properly, so we were hand pollinating instead… we looked at what to do, to help our pollination, you know, plant more flowers but nothing was really working. Until one day, we went and bought a bee hive, and of course did a bee keeping course, and we just got totally obsessed”. A self admittance of a healthy obsession with the state of the bee population was indeed a gross understatement with Kelly adding “one hive turned into two and then suddenly we had quite a lot of honey, more than we could possibly eat. We started thinking about what we could do with it, we started at the markets and then basically put the word out there, to see if people were interested in hosting hives in their backyards and it just grew from there”.
Now Urban Hum has grown into a fully fledged business, with bee hives scattered throughout Newcastle in both suburban homes and businesses. These lucky individuals who have chosen to host hives, gain access to delicious and surprisingly unique honey all year round. The word unique is a big thing here, as the honey shows drastic changes in shape, colour, texture and even more surprising, taste from location to location as it all depends upon what the bees are buzzing around of course. It’s not all about the honey, every single hive provides a very important home for an entire colony of bees, that’s what important. The other benefit of course includes your humble abode surfacing as the envy of your neighbours garden, as I’ve heard bees play favourites and like to make sure their hosts garden is in tip top shape, pollinated to perfection.
“People are either terrified of bees, or love bees, there’s no middle ground”, muse both Kelly and Anna when I asked what people’s initial reactions were, when they ventured into this business. There are definite images of cartoon misconceptions that spring to mind when thinking about bees. Angry swarms that you might think belong in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, with the bees purposefully setting out to sting everyone in their path. But it’s not like that at all, as Kelly comments, the bees prefer to stick to themselves, going on, living their lives, just as we did in a pre Trump President Elect world. Utter bliss. I will admit, I was slightly intimidated at the prospect of actively seeking out a colony of bees to hang out in my garden but, thankfully, part of the Urban Hum service that Kelly and Anna provide, is the ongoing maintenance of the hive. Which of course includes extracting natures candy, the good stuff, the honey.
In support of their crowd funding campaign, which ends on the 9th of this month, yep, just a few days away, Urban Hum as a collective ran an event at the Edwards Bar just recently. The sweet sounds of Amy Vee proved to be the perfect pairing for the evening, which included informative talks and the best part of all honey tasting. The event was well organised with a formal, yet relaxed atmosphere, with the focus remaining specifically on the hard work of Kelly and Anna and of course the passion they share for their cause.
So what can you do to help I hear you asking, now that of course you’ve googled the state of the world and what would happen if we indeed lost the bees and have firmly entered panic mode. Kickstarter! Well more accurately, kick start them, Urban Hum, to help them do what they do best. These funds will specifically go towards assisting to expand the operation process, and most importantly, helping the business maintain ethical practices. If you’re that way inclined, this is a chance to tick off many a goal for your 2016 wish list. 1. Support more local businesses. 2. Help the environment. 3. SAVE. THE. BEES. See the link below and do your bit!