Hives for Humanity (H4H) is a nonprofit society that creates opportunities for connection to community, through nature, bees and the culture of the hive. We foster self-worth and community pride through skills sharing and experiential learning, working with socially and economically vulnerable populations facing barriers to stability.
Through inclusive and supportive programming, H4H creates flexible opportunities for people to engage in the therapeutic culture that surrounds the hive. H4H supports at-risk populations of people and pollinators, with respect and joy.
We acknowledge that we are working, gardening, beekeeping and fostering connection to land and community, on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil- Waututh) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples.
Our vision is of social and ecological networks that are sustainable and inclusive. We work holding central the values of:
we create low-barrier and inclusive access points for connection to community and health, built through relationships of trust and respect.
we are responsible to our community, our environment, and our business for the long-term sustainability of our work.
we share joy through our work, fostering pride in both individuals and community.
We were founded in September 2012 by Sarah and Julia Common, after a successful pilot program in partnership with the PHS Community Services Society. Sarah was working in the community of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and building opportunities alongside community for engagement in land and food. Julia, her mother, is a master beekeeper and agreed to teach beekeeping in the context of the DTES community alongside her daughter.
Since that first colony partnership has expanded to include Atira Women’s Resource Society, Rain City Housing Society, BC Housing, Lookout Society, The Vancouver Police Department, The Fairmont Waterfront, and many restaurants and retailers throughout the city who feature H4H products (honey, candles and natural self-care or who retain our services (beekeeping and pollinator centered workshops and programs, gardening, beekeeping, speaking and teaching).
We seek to deepen a spectrum of inclusive and meaningful opportunity, from our low barrier experiential education workshops, through our mentorship and training, into work experience. Through a strengths based and trauma informed approach, we build self-worth and community pride; through our enterprise we work to alleviate poverty and empower leadership.
Our activities include:
Pollinator Gardening: building opportunities for connection to community through nature – open door, low barrier workshops, training and work experience, offering skills learning and sharing. This includes urban gardening, woodwork, and green space focused place-making.
Therapeutic Beekeeping: we build apiary programs through our partnerships (at community gardens and supportive housing locations) through which we offer and support opportunities for engagement and connection.
Beeswax Candles and Honey Production: we offer education, training and work experience in production of Wax Candles, Natural Self-Care and Honey. Through these products we share the story of skill, love, generosity, resilience and hope that is so strong in the DTES.
Mentorship Beekeeping: we engage individuals seeking further training and work experience in one on one and small group training sessions. These mentees then support our workshops and training opportunities, taking leadership roles in our work.
Advocacy and awareness: we work to raise awareness about both people and pollinators living at-risk, to teach practical skills for creating change that supports the health of both populations, reducing stigma and building inclusive opportunity.
If you want to support our mission and help us realize our vision: