The Buzz on Bees
When Paula Johnson and her husband, Brian Fitzgerald, began keeping bees on their small farm plot in south Shakopee four years ago, they were looking for a way to expand their vision of raising holistic food.
"We fell in love with bees and the wonderful community of people who keep them," Johnson said. "We have been able to share beekeeping with our grandkids and with teaching school classes about bees."
This winter, the City Council approved a new urban beekeeping ordinance that permits residents to keep honey bee colonies in any zoning district. Previously, residents were only permitted to keep honeybees in agricultural preservation or rural residential zoning districts.
The ordinance outlines how many colonies residents can possess based on property size and location, as well as hive box size requirements, setbacks and other specifications.
Residents interested in keeping bees must register with the city; however, there is no cost.
"Bees are such fascinating creatures that even if they did not provide us an incredible food source, watching them and providing them some basic needs and security is well worth the lessons they provide us in humility, cooperation and the 'hive' community," Fitzgerald said.
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2019 Hometown Messenger.