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John Coffman

I have been learning beekeeping for the past dozen years. I got my training working with the Toronto Beekeeping Co-op [ Collective]. I was Co-chair of the Co-op for two years then my partner Fran Freeman and I opened our own bee yards. We currently manage three Toronto sites at Humber College and the Humber Arboretum. We also offer a year long beekeeping course through the Arboretum. We have given many presentations to schools and other organizations and for three years ran a summer bee education program at a YMCA camp where we also helped establish and run their own bee yard. As well as the city bee yards I have a few hives in the Niagara area. I have also been mentoring a new beekeeper there. My beekeeping philosophy is based on a covenant by Mark Winston in his book “Bee Time”

We the bees will provide you with honey as well as other products of the hive as well as pollinator services.In return, you the beekeeper will provide an environment in which we can thrive, free of toxic pesticides and rich in diverse flowering plants.”

I would also add that I respect the bees’ need for their own supply of honey and use only organic treatments.

Apply to be mentee with John Coffman


Fran Freeman

I’ve been managing honey bees in both urban and rural settings for fifteen years. Currently I tend hives with my partner John Coffman at the Humber Arboretum and both campuses of Humber College, all in Toronto, and I mentor novice beekeepers in a number of rural locations. I run workshops on bees and sustainable beekeeping with a particular emphasis on caring for bees in the city using organic and ecological methods. For a number of years I was the Education Chair at the Toronto Beekeeping Collective. For the YMCA’s Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre near Nobleton I developed, and for three years taught, a weekly children’s summer programme on bees and beekeeping. I developed the Sustainable Urban Beekeeping course at Humber Arboretum’s Centre for Urban Ecology and have taught it for four years. A mix of classroom presentations, hands-on workshops and bee yard visits, the SUB course is 45 hours long and follows the beekeeping year. I would like to offer a different sort of mentorship arrangement through UTBA where, instead of you visiting my bee yard, I visit you and your hive or hives. I am located on the subway line at Old Mill station and ideally your bees are in west-end or central Toronto and easily reached by TTC.

Apply to be a mentee with Fran Freeman