HIVES: How One Woman Uses Beekeeping to Change Lives
HIVES is a short film about a Vancouver-based community worker, Sarah Common, who uses beekeeping to reconnect people to their communities, the land, and themselves. A sideways glance at the Downtown Eastside, a community that has historically been represented in a negative light for their centralization of drug use and poverty, Sarah Common’s story shows something different: moments of beauty, hope and positivity.
In 2012, Sarah founded the not-for-profit Hives for Humanity, initially a passion project, with the goal of giving people suffering with barriers to housing, health and security a sense of belonging, respect and connection to community. Five years later, the organization now has 13 community hives in the Downtown Eastside community, and over 200 hives in communities throughout Vancouver and Delta, connecting all kinds of people and pollinators.
Despite expanding the organization to places all around Vancouver, the heart of Sarah’s passion and work rests in the therapeutic apiculture for at-risk communities.
HIVES places the audience inside one of the community gardens to give a short, observational sense of how calming and community-centric beekeeping can be. All of the activities in the garden center around the Hive, and beekeeping interconnects with gardening, bricklaying, planting, and building hives; it’s an ecosystem of sustainable work and skill building.
Throughout HIVES, Sarah’s voice is tender and caring, as she talks about the lasting effect the bees had on her sense of well being, and how she wanted to pass that experience onto people who had been marginalized from mainstream society. Sarah talks in brief stints about how she started working in the downtown eastside; about how the people she works with have been dislocated from land, family, community; and about the importance of self worth for recovery. Much like the bees tend to the the flowers, Sarah Common tends to the neighbourhood by teaching community members how to beekeep, and facilitating community gardening.
“Whatever we’re doing on that day, there’s so much more going on there,” Sarah explains in an interview. “I see a sense of pride when people leave the garden at the end of the day, that we’ve really accomplished something.”
Director / Cinematographer
Lindsay Fitzgerald is an emerging producer-director, best known for her award-winning TVO short film “About Employment” (2016). She has spent the last few years oscillating between journalism and filmmaking, reporting for publications and working under acclaimed directors. In 2017-18, she will be directing her first feature-length film.
Jana Webb is an entrepreneur who started JOGA, a.k.a. yoga for jocks. While her business has thrived and she has helped it grow brick by brick, Jana has had a tumultuous personal journey that includes two car crashes that almost took her life.
Robyn Coquelle started volunteering at Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). Little did she know that she would end up quitting her job to study to become a veterinary technician—through volunteering, she had found the one thing she truly wants to do.
Roya picked up a part-time job as a receptionist at an auto body shop to help support herself while she was in school, but it wasn’t long until she realized that she was already where she wanted to be.