SAN DIEGO, April 7, 2021 (Newswire.com) - While honeybees are responsible for more than one-third of the world's food source, they're seen mostly as dangerous pests.
One San Diego restaurant owner and chef is hoping to change that perception with the installation of a modified beehive in her Kensington neighborhood restaurant.
Philanthropist and Pachamama founder Vick Vannucci shares her love of food by caring for other living beings, the culmination of which will arrive this summer when customers are greeted by working honeybees.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity to educate the community," Vannucci said. "Without bees, we don't have any food, and without food, we don't exist."
Earlier this year, she teamed up with Bee Leaf USA Founder and beekeeper Travis Wolfe to come up with a concept that honors her values of education, integrity and sustainability.
Wolfe said the idea aligns perfectly with the organization's core purpose to reconnect humans to nature through safe and sustainable beekeeping.
"Together, we're embarking on an educational journey to shift the negative paradigm associated with bees," Wolfe said. "After years of chasing this passion, it's incredibly rewarding to see someone willing to take it to the next level while supporting bees in the right way."
While the use of honeybees has been incorporated into local hotel restaurant models, Wolfe believes that Pachamama will become the only stand-alone restaurant with a sustainable on-site beehive that also has an educational aspect for customers and elevates food and drink quality.
"I don't know of a project like this being done yet, even on a national level," Wolfe said. "It's a one-of-a-kind honeybee installation that will provide a unique learning experience."
Wolfe said the estimated 40,000 to 80,000 bees will be transferred from a nearby sanctuary and are expected to produce at least four gallons of honey within a year.
The hive's entrance will be on the roof of the restaurant, allowing bees to enter and exit through a portion of the building, directed away from the public right of way, allowing them to safely forage and pollinate the neighborhood.
Pachamama & Bee Leaf USA partnered with Tecture Inc., a design and architecture studio in Barrio Logan to design, build and install the modified beehive.
The installation is made with heavy-duty glass that respectfully emulates the actual reality of honeybees in nature, while giving them the best chance at long-term survival.
"I opened Pachamama with the sole purpose of helping the community and planet in a small way," Vannucci said. "This is my humble attempt at helping the planet."
The modified beehive is also built to standards in full compliance with the county's Department of Agricultural Weights and Measures with the design adapted to assist the bees in harvesting honey while protecting the human population from unnecessary exposure.
"At the end of the day we need to change," Vannucci said. "I feel if we can change as a company we're showing people everywhere they can change too."