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.