Plan Bee - beekeepers nurturing nature amid Seoul’s concrete jungle
For many foreigners coming to Seoul, one of the main things they notice is the distinct lack of large natural spaces, replaced instead by a jungle of concrete towers, roads, and sidewalks. Therefore, it may be shocking to discover there are a large number of beehives hidden on rooftops across the city.
Urban Bees Seoul is a group dedicated to caring for honeybees and enriching the nature and environment of the city, as well as providing job creation and economic growth through their beekeeping by-products. Unlike many beekeeping enterprises, the goal of Urban Bees Seoul is not the production of large quantities of honey to sell for maximum profit, but to create an environment for bees to live happily and healthily, and promote ecological awareness. For this reason, they take only a minimal amount of honey to sell, leaving the rest for the bees to eat themselves, and try to avoid any artificial intervention such as pesticides, antibiotics, and feeding extra sugar to the bees to promote greater honey production.
Alongside their beekeeping duties and honey products, Urban Bees Seoul also offers a variety of educational programs to allow children to experience the nature of the city and develop their own sensitivity to ecological issues, as well as informing people how they can begin beekeeping themselves at home. These classes in beekeeping run three times a year for two months, with as many as 65 people learning beekeeping at a time.
While urban beekeeping is an unknown concept to many within Korea, CEO Park Jin is confident of its potential. In Britain, there are as many as 3,300 urban beehives, and in Ginja, Japan, urban beekeeping has developed into a popular tourist attraction. In the future, Park plans to expand their operations and classes outside of Seoul by establishing further ‘Urban Bees’ branches in other Korean cities.