By: Marilla Steuter of CBC
Helping homeless people in Montreal reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees may seem like an unusual approach, but organizers of the Accueil Bonneau honey program say it’s been a real success story.
“When they get to be hands on, they see that it’s all about being confident and being at peace with the bees,” said Geneviève Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects.
Accueil Bonneau, a local group that offers a drop-in day centre and variety of services for homeless men, partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago.
Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city.
“The most important thing is that it’s not just a job. It’s learning to do something you love and getting rewarded for it. That is something we want to teach,” she said.
John Levasseur, an apprentice in the program, sees beekeeping as “meaningful” work.
He says bees are “so important, not only economically, but as a barometer” for the environmental state of the world.