Churchyard honey; a 'bee-utiful' collaboration that’s helping the community
LONDON, ONT. -- As Peter Andersen walks through the backyard of St. Aidan's Anglican Church in London, you can hear the excitement in his voice as he speaks about his newfound beekeeping hobby.
"In these hives right now, there’s probably about 5000 bees. They’ll be surrounding their queen and keeping her warm during the winter time."
Andersen and a friend from the congregation started keeping bees on church property six years ago – to prevent the continuing decline of the honeybee. Every year since, they have had a reasonable harvest of honey.
Along with his wife, Andersen began jarring and selling within the community, with the proceeds going back into the work of beekeeping.
"We were selling 500 millimetre jars for $15, which makes it probably the most expensive honey in Ontario, or perhaps in the world," Andersen jokes.
With a bit of faith and luck, they managed to turn a sweet profit this year, selling $4,300 worth of honey. And through generosity of a donation from St. Aidan’s, they ended up with $7577.
Andersen and his wife decided they would donate the proceeds to LUSO after being inspired by the work that the non-profit community services resource center has continued during the pandemic.
"The work that they do in north-east London is very important, and we have a link here with bringing newcomers through St. Aidan's Church. It’s a topic we are familiar with and it’s something we wanted to support," said Andersen.
When Leroy Hibbert, the multicultural outreach coordinator with LUSO received news of the donations he said, "we were just flabbergasted, it was just a blessing to us, and we really do appreciate it."
Hibbert says this money couldn’t have come at a better time.
"It will go directly to the multicultural outreach program. LUSO has recently lost funding for that particular program, and that program itself works with people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and cultures." Hibbert continued, "…really trying to build community, understand each other, and address issues, as far as race, cultural awareness, cultural competency, and really bring what’s called understanding to this particular topic areas."