Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bee Keeping Now Legal in Minneapolis

Bees in the City

This morning, the Council ended a decades-long prohibition on keeping bees in our city. I strongly supported this ordinance change, for a few main reasons. We are in the middle of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative, which is pushing the City to look at how we can be more supportive of growing food in the City. Local honey produced by local honeybees and consumed by Minneapolis residents is a great start. Bees are also prolific pollinators, and can help to dramatically increase the yields of vegetable gardens.

The one issue I’ve been hearing about from prospective beekeepers – who are mostly very excited about this new direction from the City – is that the staff recommendation included a requirement that all permitted beekeepers indemnify the City for any lawsuit that might occur. I agreed with them that this was unnecessary, an example of the City trying to minimize our risk in a way that undermines our stated policy goals – in this case, allowing and even encouraging people to keep bees. We do not require anyone else who applies for an animal permit to indemnify the City or carry extra insurance, with one glaring exception: we require insurance for dogs that have been declared dangerous. I didn’t think it was a good message to send that we believe that bees are as dangerous as dogs that have proven they will bite someone. I also didn’t believe this was a good precedent to set for future areas in ordinance where we might loosen regulations. For all of these reasons, I moved to strike this indemnification requirement this morning. After some discussion my motion passed and the new ordinance passed with this requirement.

All in all, this was a great step towards producing more food for ourselves right here in Minneapolis, and I’ll be watching to see how the urban beekeepers take advantage of it.


At 11:42 AM, Blogger beegirl said...

Thank you so much! The new ordinance is a great step forward, and is much appreciated. The indemnification clause was a major issue for me, and I would not have applied for a permit if that language had been retained.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Larry said...

At last! We're located about 3/4 mile from the U Apiary in St. Paul, and yet we couldn't keep hives ourselves. Thank you and the Council for becoming aware that honey bees are vital and not a threat.

I hope to open a beekeeping supply store in SE soon.

Spring Coulee Honey


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