Roots To Work: The beekeeper Dale Gibson

Portrait taken for The Jellied Eel by Miles Willis

Published: 7 Feb 2018

To help inspire people to trade in their nine to five for a good food job, in 2016 we launched this new feature. The first person we chatted to was urban apiculturist Dale Gibson of Bermondsey Street Bees.

Why the fascination with bees?

Honeybees are such gentle, industrious creatures. And they make mankind’s original luxury item: honey, unchanged in 80 million years.

How is there space in London for bees to forage?

There's a fragile equilibrium between our dense urban bee population (there are over 3,000 hives in a 10-mile radius of Bermondsey Street alone) and available forage. We work closely with urban greening charities and community groups to plant substantial, enduring forage, and would encourage everyone who has their own bees to get digging and planting too.

How can I get started?

Join your local beekeeping association. Discover whether you like working with bees and learn to be a good beekeeper before you get your own hives.

What is the one thing you wished you knew before venturing into beekeeping?

As every beekeeper will tell you, bees are full of surprises - they don’t read the same books that we do! 

Any predictions as to how the honey industry might grow in the future?

Consumers will come to shun mass-produced, de-natured supermarket syrup and cherish small batch, raw artisanal honey, much as they do with bread, olive oil and chocolate.

Join Bermondsey Street Bees at Mercato Metropolitana for a workshop on Making Herbal Infusions with Honey - part of Urban Food Fortnight 2019

London Food Link supporter Dale Gibson is founder and keeper at Bermondsey Street Bees.

Check out others in the Roots to Work series, including The London Brewer, the Natural Chef and the Bakery Social Entrepreneur.

Find your good food job at Roots to Work

This feature first appeared in The Jellied Eel magazine issue 52, September 2016