One charming thing that seems to convince everybody that Berlin is an “organic city” — whatever that means– is the ever growing community of urban gardening lovers. Whether in Tempelhof, at the new rooftop bar/hangout Klunkerkranch or the newly founded area of the former Bar25, nowadays called Holzmarkt: everywhere in the city people are committed to bringing nature back into the city. Long gone are the days when industrial buildings and beasts of concrete were taken for granted. Every wasteland is now subject of dispute: will we build something new, or will we use the given land to grow, to the best of our abilities, plants and food?
But not only the produce is worth checking out. Bees are also a large part of the concept. In most urban gardens nowadays there are a couple of hives that are being taken care of by the beekeepers. They treat their bees with care and love in a natural way. Natural means they would rather not stand on the ground but fly up in the sky. That’s why the beekeepers have built them a stock in the branches of a tree or even inside of trees (all hollowed out). The bees are supposed to live as free and natural as they can, and although they usually do produce honey, the yield is not the centre of the mission.
Beekeeping Workshop with Heinz Risse
Beekeeper Heinz Risse was kind enough to show us his bees during an Urban Beekeeping workshop which anyone can sign up for here (that said, I think they’re fully booked til 2014). He explained to us the importance of bees and how they actually thrive in the city. The city, apparently, makes for a very good hotbed for beestocks: with all the different kinds of flowers and greens growing, they can selectively dine on the best of the best. So why not keep bees on your balcony instead of a goldfish on your desk? Everybody profits from it: the bees, sure, but bees are important for us just as much as we are to them. Apparently — and even Einstein said so back in the day — if honey bees disappeared, the world as we know it would be dead within four years.
Risse, our beekeeper from Prinzessinnengarten, even deposited a hive on the roof of the Abgeordnetenhaus (house of representatives). He is part of the project Berlin Summt (I love their slogan: Bee Berlin… seriously, that always gets me). The initiative is trying to raise attention for the lack of beekeepers in Germany and, most importantly, the dwindling number of honey bees in the wild by installing beestocks in popular places and where you certainly wouldn’t expect them (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berliner Dom, etc).
Now, apparently everyone — even I — can become a hobby beekeeper. If you have a balcony or any good outdoor place with a cavity you should go for it. With the right tools, this shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, let’s just acknowledge for a second that there will be bees in my close proximity, i.e. in my living and breathing space. I might not have the balls for that. I love bees as much as the next person but I’ll leave it up to you guys to actually do it. How, you ask?
Win 2×1 Seedbombs from Jack Daniels
To celebrate the release of their new honey infused whiskey — Jack Daniels Tennesse Honey — , Jack Daniels is going to support the beekeepers of Berlin by giving them the starter kit for a proper beehive! You can win those beekeeper sets on their website.
With FindingBerlin you can win something a bit more convenient if you don’t want to set up bee-shop in your recently renovated Wohngemeinschaft: Seedboombs for the city! Okay, so those Seedboombs are basically little balls of humus and clay powder which you can throw at anything (or anyone, ahem) outdoors and they become a great foundation for bees to snack on (besides, in the places you put them will soon sprout wild and colorful flowers — so disregarding the bees, how’s that not awesome?). With the Seedbombs you will also receive a bottle of JD’s Tennesse Honey so you can taste for yourself what the bees have been working on. To win 2×1 Seedbomb packages with a bottle of JDs, just leave a comment under the post!
Since honey is pretty much used for everything and bees have become a major ecological and even political issue, JD’s want to make sure nobody gets left behind in their product. We should appreciate the honey we use and the bees that are producing it. Even after stepping on the same bee twice (and getting stung twice — I don’t even know how that could have happened but it did) I am inherently dedicated to getting out of the way of bees, but you know what? It was nice to get friendly with them after all.
Please fly straight — Maßvoll Genießen is the code! This post was made in cooperation with Jack Daniels Tennesse Honey.