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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Bee culture-Massachusetts-Boston, Urban agriculture-Massachusetts-Boston, Environmentalism-Massachusetts-Boston, Sustainability-Massachusetts-Boston, Honey, Beekeeping, Boston, Food


This study examines the people who are involved in urban apiculture in Boston, Massachusetts. Urban agriculture is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the United States, and a growing number of scholars examine its impacts on cities' communities. However, researchers frequently neglect to factor animal husbandry into their research, and no scholars examine urban beekeeping's social impacts in the Global North, showing that apiculture still remains on the fringes of urban agricultural initatives. Relying on twelve semi-structured interviews and extensive participant observation, I aim to understand the social connections that exist among Boston bee enthusiasts, their reasons for pursuing apiculture, and beekeeping's effects on the greater Boston community. I find that participants typically pursue urban beekeeping for ideological as well as personal reasons. Though fear of bee stings and allergies from community gardeners, neighbors, and school administrators impede urban apiculture's growth and keep apiculture on the peripheries of urban agriculture, participants worked independently and reached out to other beekeepers to spread awareness about bees' importance. Although beekeeping in the United States is overall on the decline, participants recognized urban apiculture as a growing practice that is becoming increasingly incorporated into agricultural projects in cities and could be used as a mode of resistance against urban environmental degradation, corrupt agribusiness, and hegemonic consumer culture.




93 p. Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 87-93)