Program boosts health of hives and heroes

Program boosts health of hives and heroes

By Quinn Zimmerman

Michigan State University is initiating a sweet friendship between military veterans and honeybees.

Heroes to Hives teaches veterans beekeeping skills as a path to personal and financial wellness.

Adam Ingrao, an Army veteran who is an agricultural entomologist educator and veteran’s liaison at the East Lansing university, started the program in 2015 to merge his passions of working with veterans and beekeeping.

Ingrao has been involved in agriculture since he was 14 and manages bees on his Lansing community garden plot, Bee Wise Farms.

He sees the course as a transformative opportunity for veterans.

“It is a healing practice,” Ingrao said. “Slowing down and being one with nature, there is a healing capacity in that.”

A big emphasis is the program’s community development aspect that leads to personal wellness and empowerment, Ingrao said.

“It’s about getting veterans together that have shared experiences and often times feel isolated in society, getting them together with other veterans so that they can be part of a community that they lost,” he said.

And the program leaves participants with a strong knowledge of beekeeping, a profitable business when you know how to do it right. The vets are introduced to a strong network of industry connections.

 

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