Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

Girl Next Door Honey Pollinates Hearts and Minds

By Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Board of Directors

Bees are critical to pollinating plants and to growing thousands of fruits and vegetables that we eat. They are the only insect who make food that humans eat. But since the 1990s, beekeepers around the world have noticed bee colonies are disappearing. Added to that, droughts mean less access to their food supply. These things together spell trouble for these amazing five-eyed, honey-producing critters.

DID YOU KNOW? There are three types of bees: worker, drone and queen. All worker bees are females. Their wings beet 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute. The average worker bee produces about 1/12th of a tablespoon of honey in her lifetime. Bees communicate through pheromones and dances. Plus watch this.

Hillary Kearney of Girl Next Door Honey

Hilary Kearney owner of Girl Next Door Honey

But you don’t have to convince Hilary Kearney, Owner of Girl Next Door Honey, of the importance of bees. Her whole business is grounded in making bees accessible to people on every level.

“First and foremost I am educating people about bees and I find that they are often less afraid of them once they have a better understanding of what they do. I like to think of it as ‘pollinating hearts and minds,” says Hilary. She does this by: teaching classes on backyard hives, managing home hives, relocating hives, teaching children about bees and giving Beehive Tours to the public. These efforts, she feels, will broaden bee knowledge among the public and lessen people’s fear of bees, which are critical to “engaging people with bees and on a larger scale their local food and ecosystem.”


Hilary cares about her bees. Under normal conditions, bees will produce excess honey, enough to supply us humans with the sweet stuff and still feed themselves. But during a drought, there are fewer flowers, which means less nectar, which the bees need in order to make honey. So they may not be able produce enough for themselves and may have to work harder and travel further just to find the nectar. To support her bees, who rely on honey as their only food, Hilary doesn’t harvest honey during a drought. So when people buy honey from her, they can be assured that the bees it was taken from have enough food and are not starving.

Hillary tending her bees.

Hilary tending her bees.

In addition, the drought has weakened the wild colonies in the area. They are producing smaller and weaker swarms (when a queen leaves a colony with worker bees to form a new colony). “When I do a bee rescue it takes more effort and resources to keep those bees alive and healthy” she says. Wondering what you can do to support bees?


  • Avoid neonicotinoids in pesticides. These are thought to weaken bees’ immune system and make bees vulnerable to disease, parasites, extreme weather, viruses, poor nutrition, and other stressors.
  • Plant organic bee-friendly flowers, like California poppy, citrus, sage, sunflowers and others listed here.
  • Make a bee drinking fountain: fill a baking dish or pet water bowl with pebbles or marbles and water. The bees will stand on the marbles while they drink, without drowning.

To learn more about bees, honey, beekeeping and how to help bees, you can check out Girl Next Door’s partnership with Suzie’s Farm and their new monthly Beehive Tours. You’ll be able to suit up and go into a beehive with Hilary. Or, come check her and our other bee-positive partners out at the Good Food Community Fair, Sunday, October 11th.

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Join the SFUSD Board of Directors

Slow Food Urban San Diego is soliciting applications for our Board of Directors. If you are interested in joining our Board, please email a brief bio and letter of interest indicating the position in which you are interested in to by October 15th. In-person interviews will be scheduled in late October. Join us in supporting good, clean & fair food in our community. Positions up for election are described below.


Join us. We have wine.

Members of the Board serve up to two two-year terms in any one position, and newly elected Board Members will serve during 2016-17, beginning in January 2016. To be eligible, you must have or obtain a Slow Food membership. 

Education Committee Chair
The Education Committee provides the San Diego community with education and enrichment opportunities and supports campus and school chapters. The Committee supports existing programs, including the School Garden program, Edible for San Diego Kids, Farm-to-School, as well as educational programming for families and adults. The Chair oversees the Education Committee, which meets monthly, striving to engage and include Slow Food Urban San Diego’s membership as much as possible.

Farm Liaison / Ark of Taste Liaison
The Farm Liaison works to link Slow Food Urban San Diego with the local farming community and recommends strategies for the Chapter to advocate for and support farmers. The Farm Liaison sits on the Slow Food California Ark of Taste Committee (~2 conference calls a month and review of applications to the Ark) and to support Ark of Taste Programming and recognition in San Diego. The Farm Liaison may form a committee.

Membership Coordinator
The Membership Coordinator oversees all things membership. S/he maintains and updates the Chapter’s membership list and leads in recruiting and retaining members; reports membership status at each board meeting; organizes membership drives and leads in planning Slow Food Urban San Diego’s “Slow Sips” events. The Membership Coordinator also maintains relationships with our Member Benefit Partners and continues to build the Member Benefit Program. The Membership Coordinator may develop and coordinate additional programs to build the Chapter membership and may form a committee.

Outreach / Food Justice Committee Chair
The Outreach / Food Justice Committee spreads the word about Slow Food and collaborates with relevant community partners to promote sustainable food production and urban farming. The Committee represents SFUSD at community events and coordinates with the Membership Chair to develop and coordinate programs to build Chapter membership. The Committee also liaises with the Slow Food University Chapters, the SD Food Systems Alliance, and the Slow Food California Policy Committee, which meets monthly via conference call. The Chair oversees this committee and identifies community events and partnerships that best support the SFUSD mission and programs.

The Fund Development Chair
The Fund Development Chair creates, maintains and updates an inventory of resources of potential donors and sponsors; develops and implements a fund-raising campaign to be supported by the Board. The Fund Development Chair may form a committee.

The Secretary records minutes during monthly Board Meetings, administers annual elections and coordinates a schedule of interviews for Board positions.

The Treasurer maintains the books for the organization, handles expense reimbursements, accounts payable, and annual filings. The treasurer is responsible for leading the budgeting process and providing financial guidance to the Board, as well as presenting a Treasurer’s report at monthly board meetings. A working knowledge of Quickbooks is desired but training by the outgoing treasurer will be provided if necessary.

Vice Chair/Chair-elect
The Vice Chair works with the current Board Chair to administrate the Slow Food Urban San Diego Board of Directors and maintain chapter standing. Candidates must have served on the Slow Food Urban San Diego Board for a minimum of one year and agree to assume the Board Chair position in 2017 for at least a one-year term.

Communications Committee Chair
The Communications Committee facilitates Chapter communications through website maintenance, newsletters, social media and networking and ensures consistency of communications to members, media and the community. The Committee oversees marketing and getting the word out regarding Chapter activities. The Communications Chair oversees the committee and supports the Chapter Co-Leaders in tracking Slow Food California, Slow Food USA and Slow Food International activities of interest and in sharing SFUSD activities with other Slow Food entities. Strong writing, editing and communications skills required.

Slow Food Urban San Diego Board of Directors


2015 Good Food Community Fair






11AM – 3PM


Go to for more information!

A celebration of artisanal food and craft drinks, cooking demos, art and music, discussion panels with local farmers, chefs, food producers and breweries, and more!

Join us downtown at the Quartyard to mix and mingle with San Diegans working towards a sustainable & delicious San Diego. Special programming and events will cover good, clean and fair food in a time of drought. Entrance is free.

It’ll be a delicious time! Go to for more information!

Interested in Participating?  Would your organization like to host a complimentary booth at the fair? Please fill out this form by September 4th.

Questions? Please contact us at