Jana Kinsman’s startup Bike-a-Bee will be a distributed network of beehives in the Chicago area — Kinsman will hook up local urban farms and gardens with bees, which will help pollinate the plants while also producing honey. (Greenspaces that host a beehive get a share of the honey profits.) Meanwhile, Kinsman will care for the bees by riding from hive to hive on her bike. Urban gardens, beekeeping, biking … who says Chicago isn’t basically Portland?
Kinsman got the idea for distributed beekeeping while apprenticing at an Oregon apiary.
Philip the beekeeper had not just one bee yard (in his back yard), but over 13 throughout the city. One at an elementary school, one in a family’s back yard, one at a blueberrry patch, one at a woman’s permaculture farm… The list goes on. So although we spent the day checking on the hives and collecting honey frames, we did a lot of speaking with community members who loved having the hives and believed in being a part of urban agriculture and the world’s health.
I told Philip that when I got back to Chicago I would do something similar to what he does with his truck, except I’d do it on my bike with a trailer. I’m an avid year-round cyclist, and the prospect of owning a car isn’t appealing or fiscally possible. Thus the Bike-a-Bee project was born!
Being a small operation with no transportation overhead (besides a bike trailer) means that Bike-a-Bee has low startup costs. Kinsman just raised $7,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, enough to get Bike-a-Bee running, and announced meeting her goal with this gif which made me laugh nonstop for a million years.