Isn’t the honey polluted?

Urban honey from Copenhagen is clean, natural and delicious. There are several reasons for this. First, bees are very sensitive to smell, so they avoid flowers that are dirty or polluted. Secondly, bees that become polluted while they are out collecting nectar get rejected by the guard bees when they try to enter the hive. They will not tolerate pollutants in the hive. Finally, trace heavy metals from the atmosphere or plants tend to be absorbed into the bee’s bodies rather than the honey. International research shows that even bees living in heavily polluted areas produce honey that is safe to eat. Bybi honey has been tested by the ministry of food and attracted no special remarks.

Where is our honey made?

We have about 20 sites across the city. They are mostly on the rooftops or yards of businesses. The bees collect nectar in gardens, parks and in wild pockets of nature and window-boxes. You can actually taste the difference between different parts of the city and the honey from each season.

When did Bybi start?

The Copenhagen Bybi association started in 2010, and we had our first production in 2011. The idea from the start has been to create a sustainable urban honey industry, that can provide opportunities for long-term unemployed at bring city people in contact with nature.

How does Bybi work? How does it support itself?

Bybi is a social enterprise and a non-profit association. Our financing comes from around 25% arrangements with businesses, 60% from sales of honey and other products and 15% from project we run with schools, housing projects and social organisations. We do not receive any public financing for our running costs and 100% of our profits are used to support our social and environmental projects.

Who are our workers?

Bybi has full-time workers, a group of assistants who are typically formerly homeless or otherwise long-term unemployed and volunteers. We have professional beekeepers, who supervise the honey production, a social worker and a full-time secretariat of two people. We have up to five assistants working in our factory, and a group of “honeypushers” who travel out to the city to sell the honey and other products. We also run projects together with social organisations like the Danish Red Cross, where we train asylum seekers in honey production and beekeeping. Finally we prioritise creating a social effect among our partners and suppliers. We work closely with the Activity Center at Sundholm, which produces frames and beehives used in the project.

Is Bybi honey organic?

We use no medicines, additives, pesticides or dangerous chemicals in the production of our honey and of course there are no agricultural pesticides in the city. The fact is that Denmark interprets the rules for organic honey very strictly: There can be no spraying within 3km of the bees and the bees have to be several kilometers from roads and development. This means that almost no Danish honey that is classified as organic – even though most Danish beekeepers follow organic principles. The same rules are interpreted differently in Germany, and this means that if our project was in Germany, it would be possible to classify our honey as organic.

Where can I buy Bybi honey in Copenhagen?

We have a list of suppliers on bybi.dk. You can also buy directly from us at Sundholmsvej 34, or organize for a Honeypusher to come by your workplace. You can also contact us on admin@bybi.dk if you would like to become a supplier.

What is the difference between the liquid honey and the creamed honey?

All honey is liquid and semi-transparent when it comes out of the beehive. Over time, the sugar crystalises, causing it to go hard. How long this takes depends on the type of sugar and temperature. The honey can still be eaten, but the texture changes. Most beekeepers stir the honey to control the crystalising process. The result is finer crystals and a delicious buttery texture. We do not warm our honey up, so all the flavours and enzymes remain intact in the process. Liquid honey is available in the summer, and we usually sell the creamed honey in the winter.

Can people visit the bee hives?

Yes. We organize visits and tours for groups. Contact us at www.bybi.dk if you would like to find out more.