Beekeeping is on the rise in Tower Hamlets as schemes like the Capital Bee campaign attract new beekeepers in the borough.
The campaign accepted entrants from across the borough last week, and will screen them for suitability before announcing the winners next month.
Winners will receive free beekeeping training, equipment, bees and beehives, and will be fully prepared for spring 2012.
Margaret Cox, a Tower Hamlets resident who entered the competition, said beekeeping is rising as people become more aware of the environmental benefits: “The Capital Bee competition is a great scheme because it’s encouraging people to be actively involved and responsible for the biodiversity of the borough.”
The campaign – which is being run in all 33 London boroughs – is part of Capital Growth 2012, a community food-growing programme sponsored by London Food Link, the Mayor of London’s office and the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund.
There are already several ongoing beekeeping projects in Tower Hamlets. A group at St. Patrick’s Church in Wapping began keeping bees at the end of last year and despite recent setbacks they are still enthusiastic about the spring ahead.
Lance Smith, who runs the project, said: “All our bees died over the cold snap, but with the money we’ve made from the garden and all we’ve learnt we will try again this year.”
The honeybee is in dramatic decline across the world due to climate change and intensive agricultural practices and pesticides. Sustain, an alliance for better farming practices, warns the diminishing presence of bees could have a devastating impact on global food security.
But figures released by the British Beekeepers’ Association indicate an encouraging situation in Britain as beekeeping becomes more popular and its membership grows.
A spokeswoman for the Capital Bee campaign said: “Beekeeping has many benefits including improving local community cohesion, encouraging biodiversity by helping pollination for parks and gardens, and fostering possible enterprise opportunities.”