Why Dr. Hollee Freeman created City Bees RVA

Posted at 8:16 AM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 08:16:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- National Urban Beekeeping Day raises awareness for beekeepers who live and work in cities.

Dr. Hollee Freeman and her many hives are proof you can raise honeybees in Richmond and help contribute to nature.

Freeman is passionate about beekeeping and is the co-curator of City Bees RVA along with another local keeper, Nikiya Ellis.

The longtime educator turned beekeeper estimated she is responsible for looking over close to a million bees at her own property in Chester and Sakofa Community Orchard.

Bee keeping

Freeman continues to look for opportunities to expand.

CBS 6’s Brendan King caught up with her as she was putting a frame from a hive into a special box to bring to a camp at Maymont. She also has plans to install a hive at the Petersburg Oasis Youth Farm.

Early on, Freeman discovered that there were only three female master beekeepers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“That led me to think about the demographics of beekeeping,” she said. “There are very few BIPOC folks - Black indigenous people of color - in beekeeping. Most beekeepers are older white males. So that sparked me to think about how can I, with my skills around education, my skills around beekeeping, get more folks of color into beekeeping?”

Bee keeping

She has since attracted more than a dozen budding BIPOC beekeepers in just one year.

Dr. Freeman recommended joining a bee club if you’re interested in beekeeping.

You can still help out the bees if you can’t raise your own hive.

She advised planting a pollinator garden, installing carpenter bee houses around plants and homes, and avoiding the use of pesticides on flowers.

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