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Job diary: I've been a beekeeper for 4 decades, co-founded an urban bee non-profit, and now I work at a hotel connecting the community through beekeeping

Job diary: I've been a beekeeper for 4 decades, co-founded an urban bee non-profit, and now I work at a hotel connecting the community through beekeeping
Fairmont Waterfront



Julia Common, 66, started her beekeeping career four decades ago working at The University of Manitoba, where she first fell in love with honeybees; her bee-related education includes earning her BSc & MSc agriculture, and Bee Master and BCHPA instructor certifications.




She co-founded "Hives for Humanity" with her daughter Sarah — a non-profit organization that connects people to nature, community, and themselves through beekeeping.




People visit Julia on-property from all over the world to come see the bees in the property's four hives, which house approximately 250,000 total bees onsite.




She's currently working on research to better understand how environmental factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic impact the bee population and honey.




This is her story, as told by freelance writer Molly O'Brien.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.



I took one course about bees and absolutely fell in love with beekeeping. From there, I landed a job in a bee lab — and as my hands were in the hive I felt that I had simultaneously lost and found myself! I started hobby beekeeping after that, and wherever I've lived since then, I have always had bees. In 2011, my daughter asked me to bring some bees to the downtown East side of Vancouver, where she was working for the Portland Hotel Society, a Canadian non-profit society created to provide advocacy, housing, services, and opportunities for the marginalized citizens of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Sarah felt that bees would greatly enhance the spirit of the community there, which has been marginalized in the past. With great trepidation I brought a single colony downtown, and was instantly amazed by the warm and attentive reception the bees received from the entire community. I was surprised by the care that was instantly shown to the bees, and shortly thereafter I was absolutely astounded at how the colony was thriving in their new home in the urban garden.
Job diary: I've been a beekeeper for 4 decades, co-founded an urban bee non-profit, and now I work at a hotel connecting the community through beekeeping
Fairmont Waterfront
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