How do you get young people in Dartmouth buzzing about entrepreneurship?
Stewart Zaun says bees are the answer.
Zaun, program co-ordinator for Family SOS, is leading a two-year pilot program for youth called Healthy Honey Beez Youth Social Enterprise.
Part of their job will be to take care of the bees, as well as harvest, package, market and sell the honey.
Zaun hopes that by taking care of a beehive and educating their community on the importance of bees, youth in Dartmouth will learn how to run a business that has a meaningful impact on society.
“It’s not just entrepreneurship, it’s not just about the environment and it’s not just a personal project. It’s all those things,” he said.
Zaun will work with six Dartmouth youth, who are already involved with Family SOS. They’ll harvest honey from two hives that will be located at the Guy Jacobs Community Garden, with hopes of selling products at the Alderney market this fall.
With a beehive there’s always the risk of a swarm, but Zaun is not worried. He says there will be beekeepers there to reduce the risk and handle the swarm if it does happen.
The program is designed to bring together youth with different interests and talents.
“Each individual can work towards a different goal, which is kind of nice because the analogy still works well with the beehive. There are the worker bees in the beehive, there’s nurse bees, there’s guard bees, there’s foragers, there’s all different kinds of jobs,” Zaun said.
They’ll begin preparing for the bees in May, though the beehives won’t arrive until sometime in June, depending on how the bees did in the winter weather.
The money raised would go back into the project, to expand the business.
“It’s not so much the business, it’s not so much selling, it’s not so much the end product, it’s about the journey and while the bees are an excellent vessel they’re really not the focus. The focus is on the youth themselves,” Zaun said.
Zaun was inspired by similar community-driven projects, including Hives for Humanity in Vancouver and Sweet Beginnings in Chicago.
He hopes that one day the program will expand to other parts of Dartmouth and Halifax, and on public land. To do that the project will have to be approved by the city.