Our Mentorship Beekeeping Program reaches out to traditionally marginalized, hard-to-reach and at-risk individuals in the DTES, offering training, building skills and fostering self-worth.
We facilitate this program through partnerships with other non-profit organisations and community groups, local businesses and neighbourhood honey gardens, who host our apiaries, gardens and workshops. We build inclusive spaces that welcome and support participation, and we identify individuals who are seeking opportunities, through conversation at various workshops (beekeeping, gardening, woodwork, wax crafts, honey extraction.) These individuals are supported in participating wherever they are at, with dignity, without judgment of any behaviours, and with the understanding that these behaviours are tied into trauma, poverty, addiction, mental health and traditional marginalization.
As we build relationships, we offer opportunities to participate in other workshops, in other locations, in other communities, building employability skills and stability through our mentorship.
At each Therapeutic Apiary location we spend 2hrs/week throughout the spring and summer, tending the bees and the gardens that surround them, working alongside community, and building relationships. During the winter we schedule workshop series at each location, including candle and salve making. In the summer we also offer a free Pollinator Workshop Series at our central location, the Hastings Urban Farm, and, again through partnership, we offer placements in Beginner Beekeeper Courses to those community members who have stepped forward as beekeepers.
We do not expect those who mentor with us to all go on to be beekeepers. We find, however, that the skills they learn, the self-worth they develop, the hope they find in the bees, they carry forward with them. And this makes it all doubly worthwhile.