This is a story about honeybees.

A lovely woman I know named Lisa was keeping bees in her backyard – illegally (gasp!).  Bees are technically “livestock”, and until recently, were not allowed in residentially zoned areas of Ypsilanti, Michigan (similar laws exist in cities around the country).  Lisa is a skilled and passionate homesteader, so her bees were thriving – so much so that a neighbor complained to the city about their robust activity.  (I believe the actual complaint was that they were pooping on her car – no joke.)

Lisa bravely stood her ground, and after many months of courthouse and city council debates where many other Ypsi residents testified about the benefits of bees – pollination, honey’s healthful properties, biodiversity – the Ypsilanti City Council passed a resolution making beekeeping legal within city limits.  Beehives are popping up in backyards all over town this summer.

And it doesn’t stop there – immediately after the ruling, the Ypsilanti Food Co-op launched the Ypsilanti Honey Project, where a group of volunteer beekeepers-in-training (led by Lisa, of course), takes care of several hives placed around town.  The goal is to be able to provide local honey for Co-op customers looking for its specific health benefits– so even those who don’t want their own hives can enjoy the sweet, sweet rewards of Lisa’s once-criminal backyard beekeeping.