Eat Local: Urban Beekeeping

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The very idea of ‘eating local’ or the ‘100-mile Diet‘ taken here to a whole new level.

But this rooftop honey will be hyper-local, coming from nectar within three miles of the hotel, which is how far bees fly from their hives. Kelly, who buys most seasonal vegetables and meats from local producers, is interested in digging deep into the origins of the products he serves.

And, “I just thought it would be fun to have our own bees. I love the educational aspect of it, learning about where it comes from. It fits into the food and beverage goals of the hotel, being sustainable, local, and efficient. We’re supplementing our supply of something we use a ton of, on an unused part of the hotel: the roof.”

Big, ossified organizations have to be willing/able to entertain even the possibility of such changes in their ways of doing things. Putting bees on the roof of a corporate hotel does nothing to enhance shareholder value, but that can not be taken to mean there is no good to be realized from doing so.

The only thing that separates us from new efficiencies is garden-variety change aversion. Rooftop gardens, urban chickens, replacing non-native (even invasive) ornamental plants with native food-bearing plants…these are the tiny steps that can and should turn urban deserts into productive landscapes.

Rooftop Beekeeping
(Left to right:) Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farms; Todd Kelly, food and beverage director of the Hilton Netherland Plazal; and Megan Ketover, the hotel's pastry chef, examine bee hives on the sixth-floor roof. Kelly and Ketover plan to use the honey in the hotel's cuisine. / The Enquirer/Polly Campbell

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