“I thought the people down there were completely unpredictable, frightening to me, unappealing to look at. The place is dirty, overrun by rats, with the constant sound of ambulances and fire trucks. There is no peace.”Every large city has a wrong side of the tracks. In Vancouver, British Columbia it is the Downtown Eastside. This is the hangout for drug addicts, drug pushers, pimps, prostitutes, the homeless and mentally ill and some unexpected new neighbours. At the intersection of the two worst streets a small garden shelters a beehive. The bees fly in and out bringing pollen, at the end of summer the hive is full with two distinct honeys, one dark and aromatic, the other golden yellow.
They looked out for Julia and the hive.
It was meant to be for one season, and then someone asked Julia about next year. In a community where surviving until the next day is the priority this was a significant statement. Julia realised she couldn't leave.
She founded Hives for Humanity.
"Our core programming focuses on working alongside at-risk communities, creating a supportive and connected network and offering opportunity for building self worth and community pride....We connect people to nature, to community and to themselves, and we do it through the bees"Two years later there are twelve hives in the area. Julia says she has never been happier.
Find out more: Hives for Humanity
Video interview with Julia: Vancouver Sun
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