Homeless men are finding peace and purpose through their care of local beehives in Montreal.

Accueil Bonneau, a shelter and homeless care center based out of the Canadian city, has discovered the rewarding effects of teaching their residents about urban beekeeping.

Because of a now 4-year partnership with beekeeping company Alvéole, dozens of homeless Canadians have successfully reintegrated back into society thanks to the social and professional skills that they learned through the program.

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Over 60 hives across seven locations within the city are cared for be homeless bee apprentices. The honey is then harvested and sold at participating Metro supermarkets. The money raised from the honey helps fund the program and provides small payments to the homeless apprentices, according to CBC.

Due to the careful handling of the bees, the participants learn to be more calm and gentle, which creates “therapeutic” feelings of ease.

“Survival of bees is important to me,” said program participant Roger Décarie. “Often mistaken for wasps that are more aggressive, they are maltreated and killed. Without the bees, there would be no flowers, no trees, nature would not be the same. We need to take care of them, just like they take care of us, and I am proud to contribute to that.”

“Montreal’s community takes care of l’Accueil. L’Accueil takes care of ‘the guys’. ‘The guys’ take care of the bees. And the bees take care of life… What wonderful interconnectedness!” says Aubin Boudreau, executive director Accueil Bonneau.

(WATCH the video below)

Installation de ruche Bonneau + metro from Samuel Trudelle on Vimeo.

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