Downtown Eastside Vancouver beehive is buzzing about hope, redemption
Sarah Common, left, and her mother, Julia Common, right, with the help of Jim McLeod in the middle, check on the beehive at the community garden on Vancouver’s East Hastings on March 28, 2013. Photograph by: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun.
This hive of activity offers beekeepers a touch of therapeutic renewal
By Jeff Lee
March 31, 2013
On a vacant lot next door to the Insite supervised drug injection facility in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside, a busy little beehive is teaching people about hope and redemption and erasing long-held misconceptions.
For Jim McLeod, at 36 still battling issues with drug addiction, caring for the hive of honey-producing bees has taught him patience and how to look beyond the day-to-day stresses of trying to survive in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood.
For Julia Common, once a privileged private school community coordinator and the sponsor of the hive, putting bees into the lot — the site of the Hastings Folk Garden food garden — has erased a fear of associating with people in the Downtown Eastside.
And for Common’s daughter Sarah, who works for the Portland Hotel Society, it has strengthened her bonds with her mother and revealed unexpected strengths among the people she assists.
“I’ve seen what the bees do for people. I’ve seen it actually help them, give them a purpose,” Julia said Thursday.