Pollinators are essential to the ecosystem services humans rely on. As bees fly miles from flower to flower, they disperse pollen, transferring the necessary genetic material for plant reproduction. In addition to commercial bees, which pollinate 80% of the world’s crops and allow for about one third of our food production, 20,000 species of native bees play a crucial role in maintaining the planet’s biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and overall natural function.
At COOKFOX, we believe it is imperative to support and offer opportunities for nature in urban environments. When we designed our former office in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, we planted our large terrace with sedum, creating new green space to help re-knit the urban ecosystem. In 2010, New York City legalized beekeeping, and in April of 2012 we established our small apiary. Beginning with one hive, 50,000 Italian Honeybees created a home on our terrace. They supplied our studio with 20 to 30 pounds of honey each year and helped to bolster NYC’s natural ecosystem. Four years later, we added a second hive to our apiary to increase our pollinating potential.
In 2017, we designed our new office on the 17th floor of the 1921 Fisk Tire building off Columbus Circle. The full floor studio incorporates three terraces planted with the original sedum moved from our former office and supplemented with native grasses, shrubs, trees and pollinator-friendly wildflowers. Our two hives sit on the east terrace topped with planter boxes of herbs and strawberries. The thriving bees fly within a two-mile range throughout Manhattan, collecting nectar from the terraces, out to the upper reaches of Central Park, down to Union Square and everywhere in between. In 2018, throughout a long summer, the strong hives produced 200 pounds of honey, far more than usually expected from healthy colonies. Our bees are cared for by a member of our staff with help from volunteers on the studio bee team.