Urban Beekeeping Program Results In 'Amazing Change' In Homeless Men

June 13, 2017

Accueil Bonneau's beekeeping program is helping Montreal's homeless reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees.

Although the approach is unusual, it has had great success.

beekeeping helps the homeless
Photo credit: Alice Renaud / Accueil Bonneau Program

Accueil Bonneau is a local group that offers a variety of services for homeless people. They partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago.

Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city.

"When they get to be hands on, they see that it's all about being confident and being at peace with the bees," said Geneviève Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects.

"The most important thing is that it's not just a job. It's learning to do something you love and getting rewarded for it. That is something we want to teach."

John Levasseur, an apprentice in the program, sees beekeeping as "meaningful" work.

"It's like therapy for me," he said, explaining that tending to them requires a certain calmness and focus.

Kieffer Després added that working with bees teaches participants to be calm, gentle and more comfortable with socializing.

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