Local company supports U of L Students’ Union Food Bank

Campus was literally abuzz this past summer and the U of L Students’ Union Food Bank is reaping the benefit. Thanks to the presence of 40 of their beehives on campus, Kiwi Brian’s Honey donated 24 kilograms of honey to the ULSU Food Bank this past week.

Landen Stronks, left, managing partner at Kiwi Brian’s Honey, and Gabriel Calixte, right, beekeeper and manager, donated 24 kilograms of honey to the U of L Students’ Union Food Bank. The ULSU’s Jordan Miles, standing at right, and Kate Potts gratefully accepted the donation.

“It’s an incredible way to support our students and our campus community,” says Kate Potts, ULSU vice-president academic. “To have local partners provide that donation speaks to the community that supports the students.”

“It’s lovely that there’s beekeeping on campus that directly benefits students and we are grateful for the donation,” says Jordan Miles, ULSU vice-president operations and finance. “Now especially, students are really struggling. Their loans are running low so they’re finding it hard to buy food. We did a food cart the other day and multiple students told us they hadn’t eaten in a whole day.”

This spring, 40 hives were placed on campus in a pilot project between the University and Kiwi Brian’s Honey, which is a partnership between Landen Stronks and Witdouck Farms. In the peak of the summer, the hives were home to roughly 2.5 million honey bees. The U of L bees have done well and enjoyed a productive summer.

“It is, for us, a pleasure to be able to make this gesture,” says Gabriel Calixte, beekeeper and manager with Kiwi Brian’s Honey.

“What we’ve seen is that the U of L campus location has provided good value to the bees,” says Stronks. “Where the University is located in the coulees close to the river bottom provides access to different pollen and nectars that the bees may not always have exposure to. Just to have diversity in the ecosystem is better for the bees.”

Bringing the bees on campus also gives Stronks and Calixte the opportunity to raise awareness about bees and agriculture in the broader community.

“Having access to some of the coulees and different resources, the bees have looked very healthy,” says Stronks. “In turn, that helps the environment, but also agriculture. If the bees have access to more resources, they’re healthier.”