Growing High Point excited for new beekeeping program

Community

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Growing High Point fights food insecurity by planting productive gardens in food deserts. For a successful crop, the group relies on volunteers, and now bees.

John Pledger is a beekeeper and owns Triad Bee Supply. Covered in protective gear, he opens the hive and checks on the queen bee.

“And at the speed she is going, it’s what most beekeepers like,” Pledger said. “She is not moving fast, she is just lumbering along.”

Maintaining an apiary, or a collection of beehives, isn’t easy, especially when you have 34 hives to look after.

“It’s not like putting bees in a box and leave them alone,” Pledger said. “Back 40 years ago you could do that. But now there’s diseases and pest that bother the bees. You have to manage those more than anything.”

That’s why Pledger is sharing his knowledge of bees with Growing High Point.

Willa Mays, executive director of Growing High Point, shares her excitement about the new Growing High Point beekeeping program.

“We are about mitigating food insecurity in High Point,” Mays said. “We are doing that through the lens of urban agriculture and bees are just another step in the urban agricultural picture.”

The goal of Growing High Point’s beekeeping apprenticeship program is to teach people how to care for bees and establish a healthy hive at one of Growing High Point’s gardens. After a year, a person can use the hive as a hobby or to make a sweet profit.

“There are bee products like honey that can be used to boost your personal income,” Mays said.

If the first-year beekeeping apprenticeship program is a success, Growing High Point could sponsor another class next season.

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