Updated: 03/31/2014 6:18 PM
Created: 03/31/2014 4:12 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Farming beehives is a tough job with the climate in Duluth, but the family-owned Lake Superior Honey Company is doing well and wants to give back to the community. Online votes could get the family a grant to plant food and flower gardens for their neighbors.
Spring isn't here yet, but the Otis family can dream about it with the smell of dirt in their house.
“It feels great. It actually gives you a little bit of hope,” Jon Otis says.
The owner of Lake Superior Honey Company says that's a benefit of seeding vegetables and flowers for the coming spring. The plants aren't just for the family business though. They want to give their neighbors a garden too.
“We've applied for a Seeds of Change community grant to be able to pay for seeds, soil amendments, tools, plants that sort of thing for installing these gardens in our neighborhood,” Otis said.
They family needs people to vote online daily from April 1 to April 21 to win a $10,000 or $20,000 grant . Click here to vote for the family's project.
Getting a free garden could improve your yard, but Otis says it will also help waning bee populations. He says cities across the nation are becoming flower deserts, so planting more blooms is needed.
“Just having one bloom is like having one food we could eat. It would be boring over time, but also it's not nutritional enough to survive,” Otis said.
He has beehives across Duluth and says a variety of plants helps create unique honey.
“You're able to see a different color and taste a different flavor from location to location based on what the bees are foraging on in that area,” Otis said.
The Otis family project will be focused on the Woodland neighborhood they live in, but Otis hopes the garden movement will blossom.
“We're hoping that it will encourage people throughout the city and ultimately the region, and if we could take this nationwide that would be great,” Otis said.
The grants will be awarded in early May by Seeds of Change.
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