Thanks to the hard work of the folks at Honey Love, beekeeping in Los Angeles is now legal after a unanimous vote by the LA City Council. It was the culmination of four years of Honey Love’s lobbying efforts. The city planning department also did a great job of coming up with a common-sense revision to the city code. The new regulations legalize beekeeping in residential zones while requiring beekeepers to keep the bees six feet from the property line and have a water source.
There were more than a few obstacles to legalizing beekeeping in Los Angeles. Special thanks must go to Chelsea and Rob of Honey Love who diplomatically balanced beekeepers with different management styles as well as dealing with skeptical neighborhood councils and politicians.
While I was unable to go to the meeting yesterday, I did get to experience what it’s like to go in front of a hostile audience when I appeared before the Pacific Palisades Neighborhood Council to defend the code revision. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been protested. I had to face a row of high school students holding up blown up photos of people covered in bees (which were actually stunt people doing the swarmed by bees trick). I had a few flashbacks to my less than stellar year on the Culver City Junior High Debate Team and left the meeting depressed that a generation of children were being taught by their elders to be afraid of nature.
Despite these struggles, yesterday’s legalization is a positive sign that many people want to reconnect with the natural world. Everything is connected: heightened awareness of the plight of bees goes hand in hand with issues such as the overuse of pesticides and where our food comes from. It’s a great week for the City of Los Angeles.