A weeklong, citywide festival celebrating the honeybee, Honey Week 2015 merges the educational, the entertaining, and the downright delicious.
From beekeeping classes to honey-themed dinners, apiary tours to honey tastings, cooking classes to kids’ workshops, the festival flits from neighborhood to neighborhood from September 8-13, drawing deep from apicultural traditions and New York City’s cultural traditions alike.
The week culminates in the fourth annual daylong Honey Fest at Rockaway Boardwalk on Saturday, September 12, a free, family-friendly extravaganza featuring art, food, music, kids’ arts and crafts, the Bee Marketplace, and, of course, honey galore. All day kids can participate in fun and educational activities, including facepainting by NYC Facepaint, bee-hat making by City Growers, and an interactive booth by Arts In Parts about the honeybees’ role in pollination. BeeGirl is joining the fun from Oregon this year, and will have lots of honey/bee education activities plus microscopes to view bees and pollen up close, as well as a tie-dye station and an elaborate observation hive provided by BeeKind Farms. In addition, there will be honey extraction demos, the Honey-Tasting Contest, and raffle to keep your ‘lil critters busy as bees. All this, and a beach, too!
As honeybee populations decline worldwide, the very survival of our food production system is threatened. The canaries in our agricultural coal mine, Apis mellifera have so much to teach us about ecosystem survival and resilience. Their incredible hierarchy, astounding insdutriousness, and the exquisite crops they produced have been revered by humans since ancient times. We must act now to educate ourselves about this critical species and honor the inspiring contributions they make to the health of our struggling planet.
A portion of the proceeds from select events will be donated to City Growers’ Honeybee Education Program for NYC youth. City Growers is a nonprofit educational organization based at Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm in New York City. The organization’s mission is to coordinate and facilitate school and camp visits that engage young New Yorkers in educational tours and workshops on the farm and in the classroom. Since 2013, City Growers has offered NYC’s only hands-on honeybee education program for K–12 youth, allowing young urbanites to appreciate and learn about these critical creatures firsthand.
Honey Festival first landed on the Rockaway Boardwalk back in 2011. The brainchild of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm managing partner and Chief Beekeeper, Chase Emmons, it began with modest intentions: an opportunity for the apiarists of New York City to celebrate the end-of-summer harvest, and to sell their honey and hive-products. That first year, the festival was made possible by the hard work of some of the city’s best “beeks,” an affectionate term used to describe those who geek out on beekeeping.
That first festival was a smash success and many of the vendors expressed amazement at how quickly they sold out. Clearly, New York City denizens wanted to get their hands on that sweet, sweet nectar! So repeating the event in 2012 was a no-brainer, and once again, it was solid gold.
2015’s lineup will include something for everyone. After all, honey bees pollinate most of the foods we eat, so when it comes to the ongoing health of Apis mellifera, we’re all affected: every time we pick up a fork or a glass, we are having an impact on these amazing creatures. And that’s something to buzz about.