Canadian company Alvéole, which provides turnkey beekeeping services to local businesses and schools, recently expanded to Victoria.
While beekeeping on the city’s rooftops is nothing new (The Empress, Chateau Victoria and Bear Mountain Resort maintain their own hives), the venture does the heavy lifting — installing and maintaining hives while providing educational workshops for employees and students so they are a part of the process.
“The purpose of what we do is connecting people to nature,” says Étienne Lapierre, cofounder of Alvéole, who formed the company with two friends after they spent time working as beekeepers in Manitoba.
“Instead of managing 2,000 hives in the countryside, we decided to shift the model into something that was a lot more human and connected to the process. So, we now have 2,000 people in a building that are managing two beehives.”
Pollinators are a pivotal part of healthy ecosystems, and Lapierre believes businesses have strong potential for supporting urban bee populations.
“Why we try to work with businesses is because there’s more impact,” says Lapierre. “It’s a place where a lot of people are engaging together. We think that this is the best place to start a conversation and build awareness.”
Alvéole has a rule of no employee maintenance without attending a workshop. Every time a beekeeper returns to a site, there’s an opportunity for employees to engage and learn from the process.
Beyond workshops, companies also receive custom branded honey produced from their on-site hives as well as beeswax soaps, candles and lip balms.