Just Food's campaigns and summits work to engage NYC communities on important food and farm issues, increase participation in advocacy planning and mobilizing, increase awareness and create policy change. Below find archives from our successfully concluded campaigns and summits!

Campaign Archive: Legalize Beekeeping in NYC!


Today, Just Food celebrates the successful conclusion of our campaign to legalize beekeeping in New York City!!

This morning, the NYC Board of Health voted in favor of lifting the ban on beekeeping in Health Code Article 161, which previously rendered beekeeping illegal. Today's vote is an important victory for all of those who support bees, beekeepers, urban agriculture and a greener, healthier and more sustainable New York City.

Just Food launched our city-wide campaign to legalize beekeeping in New York City in 2008 and has since been working with a coalition of beekeepers, gardeners and community members to encourage the NYC Department of Health to lift its beekeeping ban (read archive of our beekeeping campaign below).

Just Food would like to thank the NYC Beekeeping Meetup Group, NYC Beekeeper's Association, Gotham City Honey Co-Op, our 2009 Pollinator Week Committee, individual beekeepers and supporters, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, former City Councilman David Yassky, and the NYC Department of Health for their collaborative spirit and vital role in making today's ruling possible.

Legalize Beekeeping in NYC: Campaign Highlights

March 2008
Just Food, Heifer International and Gotham City Honey Co-Op meet with Councilmember Yassky's staff about introducing bill to legalize beekeeping, in case Department of Health wouldn't legalize.

December 2008
Just Food launches the petition to the NYC Department of Health to review their code 161 and remove bees from their list of prohibited 'venomous insects.' We also published the Legalize Beekeeping in NYC Fact Sheet.

January 2009
Councilmember David Yassky introduces bill that would legalize beekeeping in NYC if passed, even if Department of Health doesn't revise its own code. Councilmember Yassky and Just Food issued a joint press release.

Spring 2009
Just Food submitted over 3,000 petition signatures to the Department of Health.

We also convened the 2009 Pollinator Week Committee, a dedicated group of beekeepers, supporters, gardeners and sustainable foodies to mobilize awareness-raising events in NYC in conjunction with National Pollinator Week in June. 

June 2009
NYC Pollinator Week! Just Food and the NYC Pollinator Week Committee sent out action alerts and organized a number of events to increase awareness of the importance of honeybees and keepers, and to mobilize support for the campaign.

NYC Pollinator Week included:

  • Beekeeper's Ball
  • City Hall press conference & rally
  • Hidden Hives Tour screening & mead tasting
  • Honey Festival
  • New York Nectar
  • Honey Tasting

During NYC Pollinator Week, the Department of Health contacted Just Food and requested a meeting to discuss ways to amend their code to make beekeeping safe and legal in NYC!

July 2009
Two productive meetings with the Department of Health showed promise for a lifting of the ban by the 2010 beekeeping season!

October 2009
Just Food and Jimmy's No. 43 hosted a Honey Swap, for local beekeepers to sample and share their delicious honey's. Also another chance for us to screen the wonderful Hidden Hives Tour.

December 2009
BIG news! On December 17th, the New York City Board of Health held their quarterly meeting and the Department of Health ensured that section 161.01 (the section of the Health Code that outlaws beekeeping) was on the agenda. The Department's proposed amendments include lifting the honeybee-keeping ban, and the Board of Health approves a review of the code.

February 2010
The Department of Health convenes a public hearing addressing its proposed amendment to Article 161, which among other things proposes excluding honeybees from its list of prohibited insects. Just Food and nearly 80  other individuals and organizations submit testimony in support of lifting the ban.

March 2010
NYC beekeeping legalized!! At is March 16 meeting, the Board of Health approves the Department's proposed amendment that allows honeybee-keeping in NYC!! Just Food, beekeepers and supporters celebrate the successful conclusion of our campaign!

Thanks to everyone who supported Just Food and our campaign to legalize beekeeping in NYC!


Bee keeping is currently illegal in New York City. The New York City Health Code under Section 161.01 prohibits the possession, keeping, harboring and selling of “wild animals.” This ban's listing of “all venomous insects” includes bees and in doing so outlaws beekeeping.

Honeybees are garden heroes! Honeybees help gardens grow more fruit and vegetables and produce sweet honey. They are nature's best pollinators and contribute to produ

To legalize beekeeping in NYC and improve the health and well-being of our urban environment and populace, Just Food is working on two fronts: (1) calling for the Department of Health to remove or exempt honeybees from Health Code 161.01, and (2) supporting Council Member David Yassky's Bill, introduced in January 2009 to City Council that would legalize beekeeping in NYC.

Take action!

  • Read all about our 2009 Pollinator Week activities, our honeybee fact sheet and sign-up for Facebook and Twitter updates!
  • Sign the petition
  • Collect petition signatures! Download the petition and fact sheet, gather signatures in your community and return the completed lists to: nadia[at] or Nadia Johnson, Just Food, 1155 Avenue of the Americas, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036
  • Send the petition to your friends, families and networks! Below is a sample letter:

    Dear _____,

    Question: What do cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle have that New York City does not? Answer: Legalized beekeeping.

    Bee keeping is currently illegal in New York City due to a local health code that prohibits the possession, keeping, harboring and selling of "wild animals" and "vehemous insects" in which bees are included.

    Honeybees are garden heroes! Honeybees help gardens grow more fruit and vegetables and produce sweet honey. They are nature's best pollinators and contribute to productive harvests in community gardens, public parks and nature centers.

    Join me in taking one minute to sign Just Food's petition to legalize beekeeping in NYC! Sign the petition here:
    and check out Just Food's website ( for a beekeeping fact sheet and campaign updates.

Hear the buzz! Check out the media coverage!

New York Takes First Steps To Legalize Beekeeping
(January 4, 2010 - Planet Green)

Get ready for honey bees in the Big Apple: Urban beekeeping in New York City (December 21, 2009 - Northeast Beekeeping Examiner)

NYC may lift ban on beekeeping (December 19, 2009 - Associated Press)

New York City May Lift Ban on Beekeeping (December 19, 2009 - 1010WINS)

New York City Health Department to end ban on keeping honeybees (December 18, 2009 - New York Daily News)

City Moves to Lift Ban on Beekeeping (December 18, 2009 - New York Times)

City Beekeeping Buzzing Toward Legalization (December 18, 2009 - Gothamist)

NYC Beekeepers Swarm City Hall to Protest Ban (June 23, 2009 - Associated Press)

Hoping to Generate a Bit More Buzz (June 23, 2009 - New York Times)

The First Annual Beekeepers Ball: A Buzzing Night in Support of New York Urban Beekeeping (June 23, 2009 - Serious Eats NY)

The Feed’s guide to where to eat during NYC Pollinator Week (June 23, 2009 - Time Out NY)

Give Bees a Chance (June 23, 2009 - WNYC)

Bill to legalize beekeeping would be a sweet deal for New York's honey-making crowd (March 25, 2009 - New York Daily News)

City Beekeepers Hoping to Go Legit (February 5, 2009 - AM New York )

Urban Beekeeping Is More Than Just Buzz (February 3, 2009 - NBC New York )

City Council May Legalize Urban Beekeeping (February 2, 2009 - Gothamist)

Bill Introduced to Legalize Beekeeping in New York City
(January 30, 2009 - Serious Eats New York )


Summit Archive: NYC Food & Climate Summit (2009)

File 435If you were told that the top problems facing our country today are global warming, rising healthcare costs and unemployment, few people would bat an eye. But what if we said that we could make strides toward solving each of these problems simply by changing the way we eat and where we source our food? Now that might spark more of an argument.

In fact, it’s true. The biggest transformation in the United States over the next generation may well come in the way we feed ourselves. By stocking our kitchens with food that’s more sustainable – and changing public policy to make that easier – we can reduce the city’s climate "foodprint", lower health care costs, and create good and green jobs. This is only possible if individuals and policymakers take important and urgent steps to make the food system more sustainable.

That's why Just Food, the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York University convened the NYC Food & Climate Summit on December 12, 2009 at NYU. The Summit was a day-long feast of workshops, training and action planning around our food system’s role in climate problems and solutions. The event, timed to coincide with the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, provided a forum for some 1,000 New Yorkers – community gardeners, local farmers, educators, students, advocates, city government leaders and concerned citizens – to show global solidarity for climate justice advocates around the world.

Twenty-eight skill-building workshops and policy sessions covered topics from urban agriculture to institutional racism in the food system to greening food infrastructure.

But the Summit was only the start. In February 2010, the Manhattan Borough President released "FoodNYC: a Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System," a report based on the policy ideas generated at the Summit. In September 2010, Just Food will launch the NYC Food & Climate Campaign, to provide an action platform and forum for New Yorkers to mobilize around the policies and ideas in FoodNYC and more. Stay tuned!



Vandana Shiva speaking @ the NYC Food and Climate Summit on 12/12/09 from Just Food on Vimeo.

Wangari Mathaai opening address @ NYC Food and Climate 12/12/09 from Just Food on Vimeo.