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July 2016

Urban beekeeping Dale

Urban beekeeping Dale Gibson holding a beehive frame at one of eight hives on the roof of his home Urban beekeeping is a thriving industry, discovers Rhowena MacCuish As with many artisan products, people are catching on to the fact that raw honey is a very good thing indeed. Naturally, the taste exceeds that of its processed cousins and contains far more nutritional benefits. I recently met Dale Gibson, who runs Bermondsey Street Bees. He's carrying on a tradition of beekeeping that's almost a thousand years old. "Dating back to when the Cluniac monks built Bermondsey Abbey in 1082," he tells me. Dale rears healthy bees in harmony with sustainable surroundings, then harvests their honey as a raw artisan food. "Both are immensely satisfying occupations. Beekeeping draws on many manual skill-sets, as well as a sensitivity to the natural world. Done properly, it forges a remarkable link between human beings and bees. We currently face a big problem in that there is simply not enough forage for the bees to gather food from. In central London alone there are over 3,000 hives per 10km². Each hive needs a staggering 20kg of pollen and 50kg of nectar just 24 LOVEEAST to survive – and that's before any honey can be harvested for us to enjoy. Bermondsey Street Bees is helping to combat this problem and works with government schemes, local councils and community groups to plant suitable forage and turn wasted space into thriving habitats that benefit bees and in turn all kinds of other wildlife. Check out what community groups such as Sustainable Hackney are doing in terms of planting bee-friendly trees and plants, and head to bermondseystreetbees.co.uk for their handy beefriendly planting guides. To get your hands on their exquisite awardwinning honeys visit the Bermondsey Street Festival in September, or Maltby Street Food Market. Honey bees at work

JAMES’ STORY: PART 4 I never thought I would enjoy it quite this much. But I’m here after 10 months, up to 4 times per week. If you want to exercise on a small budget, with professional tuition, on your own terms, amongst all the very normal people of Hackney, then look no further. London Fields Fitness is where it’s at. the end £30=130 classes p/month fitness classes - spin - personal training FIND OUT MORE AT londonfieldsfitness.com / @londonfieldsfit LOVEEAST JULY 2016 25

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