Oakland Park, Florida – In Florida, Broward County is leading the way to save the honeybee with the first honeybee micro apiary in Florida. The Discovery Farm and Gardens, developed and operated by the Urban Farming Institute (UFI), at Jaco Pastorius Park in the City of Oakland Park is the prototype site for the start of a countywide effort in honeybee management and rescues. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony with state, county and local officials took place this past Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 at 11:00am.
It was a crisp winter day when Jon Albee, the Founder of the UFI took to the podium to welcome guests. The event garnered the attention of officials, bee enthusiasts and community residents alike and drew a huge crowd. The Mayor of Broward County, Marty Kiar and Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter were in attendance along with the Mayor of Oakland Park, Tim Longeran and his fellow City Commissioners Jed Shank and Michael Carn.
“Honeybees are instrumental in ensuring that our agricultural industry thrives. This honeybee micro apiary in Broward County is the first in Florida. I am honored to appear with my friend and colleague Commissioner Stacy Ritter who has worked tirelessly on this project to bring it to fruition,” said Marty Kiar – Mayor Broward County
Following the ribbon cutting, UFI Program Director and Chef Ian Wolinsky provided a cooking demo with honey as one of the main ingredients. Attendees were able to sample a delicious honey glazed chicken salad, while exploring the gardens and touring the apiary.
John Coldwell, the head Beekeeper for the apiary, was on site to answer questions about bees and the construction of the apiary. He will be offering a course in apiary management through UFI and Broward College later this year.
“I am excited to be a part of the Honeybee Micro Apiary at the Urban Farming Institute. We now have a refuge for urban rescues and beekeeper’s hives. As part of a joint governmental/community project, the data collected will support the continued growth of this program and protect our precious pollinators,” said John Coldwell, head Beekeeper.
The President calls for action to protect the Honeybee and its Habitat
Scientists believe that paying attention to honeybees and their habitat is critical to sustaining Florida’s crops, and the diversity of the state’s vegetation.
- On May 19th, 2014, the Obama administration announced the first National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees.
- The plan is to restore land and support efforts to preserve bee colonies across the country.
- The President emphasized the need for an “all hands on deck” approach, including the engagement of citizens and communities, and the forging of public-private partnerships.
Broward County Gets Involved in Saving the Honeybee
The Broward Bee Policy ad hoc committee answered the President’s call and began to develop a comprehensive Broward
Honey Bee Policy. The committee recognized the stewardship, maintenance and nurturing of our public environment, including its wildlife, as a core responsibility of Broward County and its municipal governments. The committee focused on the singular question of how to support more managed honeybee colonies in Broward County.
- Managed honeybee colonies are safer than feral (non-managed) honeybee colonies because they create a natural barrier to the more aggressive Africanized colonies; and
- Managed hives also provide a convenient research platform, as well as a great source for local natural honey and honeybee products.
The First Honeybee Micro Apiary in Florida
In October 2015, the idea of a micro apiary was presented to the Broward Bee Policy ad hoc committee as a way in which public property could be conveniently used to produce more managed honeybee colonies without adversely affecting the public use or purpose of the thousands of acres of public property in Broward County.
Two months later, Florida’s first micro apiary prototype was constructed with the financial support of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC) and the leadership from the Urban Farming Institute (UFI) along with its partnership with the City of Oakland Park.
- It will establish important financial and operational baselines in construction, management and maintainability for the future planning of micro apiaries throughout Broward County and Florida.
- Future honeybee micro apiaries are being planned throughout Broward County based on this prototype.
The Discovery Farm and Gardens and The Urban Farming Institute
The Discovery Farm and Gardens Apiary is part of the Urban Farming Institute (UFI), a non-profit organization, located in Oakland Park, FL. The UFI serves as a regional education, demonstration, and resource center for educators, health practitioners, gardeners, farmers, and producers interested in growing food in an urban setting.
For more information on the Urban Farming Institute and its programs please contact Jon Albee firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information on Florida’s First Honeybee micro apiary please contact its head Beekeeper John Coldwell email@example.com. You can also check out the Urban Farming Institute’s Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/UFI.FL/
# # #
 An apiary or bee yard is a place where managed beehives of honeybees are kept. Under state law, all apiaries in Florida are maintained by licensed Florida Beekeepers and regularly inspected by the Florida Department of Agriculture, Plant Industry Division.