“If we can encourage a few new beekeepers, bring pollination back to communities, and give people the opportunity to enjoy their very own honey – well, that’s a great day!”
– Marianne Gee, Gees Bees

We at JustChange are abuzz over our latest grantees, Marianne and Matt Gee of Gees Bees Honey Company! Matt and Marianne will be partnering with the Ottawa Food Bank to set up a beehive next spring, which will increase pollination in the community and will produce honey for the benefit of the Food Bank.

Matt and Marianne became beekeepers by chance seven years ago, when they discovered a colony of bees living in their home. They knew nothing about bees at the time, but weren’t comfortable when it seemed like the only option external companies were offering was to kill the bees. Knowing that declining bee populations are a serious environmental concern (beekeepers in North America saw about a 40% decline in the bee population in the past two years), the Gees moved the bees themselves, and began caring for the colony on their property.

As they learned more about beekeeping and its environmental benefits, the Gees decided to reach out to others, offering bee removal services for homeowners looking for a sustainable option. In 2015 alone, Marianne and Matt were able to “rescue” about 15 bee colonies, bringing them to their rural property where they could continue to pollinate. They also offer a beehive rental service which gives businesses, restaurants, and homeowners the opportunity to have their very own local honey and help Ontario’s declining bee population, while the Gees take care of everything.

As their Host a Hive program grew, Matt and Marianne realized their environmentally-friendly work could also do social good in the Ottawa area. They reached out to the Ottawa Food Bank, which operates a community garden in Goulbourn, to see whether they’d be interested in hosting a hive. They see the partnership as having two major benefits to the community: the bees would increase pollination and all the honey harvested from the hive would benefit the Food Bank.
The $1,000 grant the Gees will receive from JustChange will cover the costs of installing and maintaining a beehive for the Ottawa Food Bank for the 2016 season.

To find out more, come celebrate our latest grantees at our October JustDrinks event! – October 15, 2015 at the Atomic Rooster (303 Bank St.). You can also connect with Gees Bees on Facebook and Twitter @GeesBeesHoney.