The St. Peter City Council failed to represent the interests of the city with the failure to pass the amendment to permit hobby beekeeping. The ordinance as written would have allowed a sensible balance between the interests of the hobbyist, neighbors and nature.

The honeybee is not native to North America. Honeybees have been in North America for the past 400 years. (They were imported by the first colonists.) At this point in time they are an endemic species not an invasive species.

Apiary sites can be as close as a quarter mile apart on average without causing any harm at all to native species. (In fact beekeepers are consistent advocates for biological diversity as well as minimal use of chemicals.) St. Peter has abundant natural forage for pollinators.

The future of apiculture is to have bees kept within the city limits. New York City, Boston, Detroit, Portland Oregon and Minneapolis all allow apiculture within the city limits. Peer cities in southern Minnesota such as Lonsdale, Burnsville and Byron have all enacted ordinances for apiculture.

Urban agriculture is a growing movement and pollinators are going to be needed. Beekeepers support the efforts of local food production. Bees and humans benefit from cohabitation with each other.

Overwinter colony survival is higher within the city. Honey production is also higher. Reduced colony density also reduces disease within the colonies. Gardens are more productive. We have the opportunity to really understand the glory of nature.

Socially we would benefit from increased awareness of the interconnectedness of us all. Bees can teach us about the values of social communication and shared decision making. I hope the city takes the next opportunity to enact the ordinance.

Peter Westre

St. Peter

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