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Homeless men are reintegrating through urban beekeeping program

2 min read

Better Society
Homeless men are reintegrating through urban beekeeping program
Source: None

The Accueil Bonneau program in Montreal has been yielding positive results for participants building job skills and confidence.

The sweetest social reintegration project

Le Miel de Bonneau is an innovative and creative social reintegration program oriented on developing social and professional skills through the learning and practice or urban beekeeping. The beekeeping apprentices work on maintaining beehives, producing and harvesting honey, also taking part in sales and promotional activities. The honey is then sold to finance and help run daily operations.

Produced with hope and heart Le Miel de Bonneau is local, unpasteurized and a 100% pure. Soft, with hints of flowers and mint. Source: Facebook/ActionProductionsLondon

Sweet salvation: Homeless men learn urban beekeeping at Acceuil Bonneau

For John Ungar, beekeeping is a form of meditation.“Even the sound of it — ‘bzzz’ – it’s like ‘ohm,” said Unger. Ungar is one of about 50 men who have participated in an urban beekeeping program on the roof of Accueil Bonneau, a Montreal homeless organisation.

John Ungar says he discovered the calming effects of beekeeping through the Montreal program. After his wife died a few years ago, Ungar said his life “fell apart” and he lived for a time in a crack house. During the downturn, he turned to Accueil Bonneau for hot meals. That’s when he stumbled upon the apiary. “This place came to my rescue. It’s given me work and activity,” Ungar said.

Source: CTVNews Main Image: AccueilBonneau

John Ungar says he discovered the calming effects of beekeeping through the Montreal program.
Life is sweet John Ungar says he discovered the calming effects of beekeeping through the Montreal program. Source: CTVNews

The program provides a sense of order and responsibility for participants

The program, La Miel de Bonneau, has been in place since 2014 and started out with a few hives. It’s since expanded to house 50,000 bees, and seven other locations have started similar apiaries in the city.

The program offers different jobs for the beekeeping apprentices throughout the seasons. In the spring, volunteers clean the hives and check on the bees health with the help of Alveole, an urban beekeeping company. At the end of the summer, honey is collected and sold.

According to the program’s website, the locally harvested honey is unpasteurised and has soft hints of mint and flowers.

All sales of the honey are put back into running the shelter.

Aside from a social benefit, the program also has environmental perks. The roving bees help pollinate gardens throughout Montreal and boost perennial greening. Similar urban apiaries have popped up in major cities across the world to help offset dwindling bee populations.

The program provides a sense of order and responsibility for participants, according to Accueil Bonneau’s director of communications and special projects.

“It’s very concrete, it’s specific moves they have to do and they have to be very gentle, which is very different from life on the street,” said Genevieve Kieffer Despres.

Source: CTVNews

Similar urban apiaries have popped up in major cities across the world to help offset dwindling bee populations.
A volunteer with Accueil Bonneau scrutinises bees on a rooftop apiary in Montreal Similar urban apiaries have popped up in major cities across the world to help offset dwindling bee populations. Source: CTVNews
“Montreal’s community takes care of l’Accueil. L’Accueil takes care of
A wonderful Interconnectedness “Montreal’s community takes care of l’Accueil. L’Accueil takes care of “the guys”. “The guys” take care of the bees. And the bees take care of life… What wonderful interconnectedness!”— Aubin Boudreau, executive director Accueil Bonneau. Source: AccueilBonneau
Make an Impact

5 ways to help the homeless in your community

Here are five suggestions but there are lots of other ways to help homeless people. Donating food and clothing to homeless shelters is a great way to help. You could also volunteer your time with such an organisation.