London

This London church is a true bee-liever in the power of honey

St. Aidan's Anglican Church in London, Ont., has been keeping bees on its property for six years, but this is the first time the church has been able to make a profit from the honey. This week, it donated the money to LUSO Community Services.

St. Aidan's Anglican Church produced 300 kg of honey this year. It's donating the profits to LUSO

St. Aidan's Anglican Church beekeeper Peter Andersen hands over a cheque to LUSO Multicultural Outreach Program Coordinator, Leroy Hibbert (Submitted by Kevin George)

2020 has certainly been a difficult year, but by some miracle it's the first year St. Aidan's Anglican Church in London, Ont., has been able to make a profit producing honey.

"I think everybody in beekeeping this year in Ontario had a really good year for honey production," said church member and beekeeper, Peter Andersen.

It didn't come easy. Raising bees and harvesting honey is finicky work.

"It's very challenging. I'm learning that we're keeping more mites than bees sometimes. A lot of bees have had to die to get where we are, I feel. Maybe too many," he admitted.

Andersen and a friend from the congregation started keeping bees on church property six years ago. They have four hives on the Oakridge property that backs onto Sifton Bog, and two more off-site.

Anderson said this is the first time he's been able to produce enough honey to make a profit. He churned out 300 kg of the sweet nectar, which he and his wife jarred. It's called Churchyard Honey and it sold for $15 dollars per 500 mL jar.

"We think it's the best honey you can buy. It's certainly the most expensive," he joked.

Money donated to LUSO Community Services

The church made $5,000 dollars from the honey. After paying off expenses, and the church matching the profits, Andersen said St. Aiden's was able to deliver a $7,700 cheque to LUSO Community Services, a multicultural neighbourhood resource centre in London.

"We're really moved and really touched by their generosity," said LUSO outreach coordinator, Leroy Hibbert. 

"We do a lot of work with newcomers. We work with youth programs. We work with families and those that are in need in various capacities from a holistic approach. So these funds are going to be very beneficial in this particular time especially," he said.

Hibbert added racialized communities in London are feeling the effects of COVID-19 in disproportionate ways.

"So it's nice to see that all groups are getting the support that they need in various capacities, which is wonderful." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 15 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.

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