Beekeeping, honey operation buzzes amid cemetery’s gravesites
The silent graves and mausoleums of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery are the final resting place of luminaries who created a buzz when they were alive, like composer Leonard Bernstein, newspaperman Horace Greeley and maverick artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
It’s also home to some 600,000 honeybees and a beekeeping operation that churns out honey sold under the brand name “The Sweet Hereafter.”
Brooklyn beekeeper Davin Larson, 30, who worked with bees as a youngster growing up in the Midwest, got the idea for the hives while listening to a classical music concert at GreenWood’s central chapel two years ago.
“I was sitting there when I thought, “This has to be a perfect place to keep bees in the city,’” he said.
Founded in 1839, GreenWood sprawls over 478 acres of rolling hills, winding roads and pretty paths and ponds, making it one of the larger green areas in the city.
Larson proposed the idea to cemetery volunteer Nicole Francis, herself a backyard beekeeper. She sold the concept to the cemetery’s public programming director.
Today, the bees help pollinate the cemetery’s tons of flowering plants and trees, said John Connolly, GreenWood’s General Manager Public Engagement and Involvement.
To help defray the high cost of maintaining the hives, supporters of the program are encouraged to shell out $500 to sponsor a hive, or $250 for half a hive.
Green-Wood’s beekeepers harvested 200 pounds of honey this year, sold from a wheeled cart outside the cemetery’s gothic main gate.
The honey is harvested from hives located inside the 478acre cemetery as part of a program to fight colony collapse disorder among bees, says Green-Wood Manager of Public Engagement and Development John Connolly.