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  • Numerous possibilities for new honey products

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    Group photo at TNM in Sosnowiec (Poland) taken by Katowice Special Economic Zone – Sosnowiec and Dąbrowa Subzone archive


    The Municipality of Amarante, one of the most beautiful and “sweet” cities of Portugal, is a destination in the north of the country. It is recognized for its honey in varieties such as heather, rosemary, eucalyptus or orange that is so special, that it is labelled with the EU Protected geographical indication. Originating from traditional use of honey in the culinary field and due to locals with dreams and visions, who joined small beekeepers and developed their business, local honey and diverse products made with honey or other bee products are distributed across the country and abroad. Today, beekeeping is a growing sector of the local industry especially important for the rural areas.  





    The article is available in English and all 5 partner languages:





    Honey bread – in Portuguese Broa de mel is a Portuguese musical duet that became famous in the 80s and 90s with their love songs performed in several festivals such as the Festival RTP da Canção. Their songs talked about passion, ardour, union, romance, breezes, caresses and about “honeymoons”. These sweet themes which refer to happiness and wellbeing can make us feel honey.


    The name of the group as well as their song lyrics are deeply connected with “broa de mel” a well-known Portuguese sweet made in many bakeries and pastry. Honey is commonly used in Portuguese confectionary in typical sweets such as “ginger and honey cake”, “honey and cinnamon cake”, “honey bread with egg cream filling”, “cake of olive oil and honey with cinnamon and nuts"," Algarvian honey cake "," honey and yogurt cake" and "honey and raisin cake" or "honey toast".


    Honey has countless uses; from gastronomy to cosmetics, health and wellness…. or as a unique product. Increased demand for such products plays an important role in the local economy, as recognized by Alexandre Vieira, current president of Apimarão (Association of Beekeepers of Marão and Aboboreira), an association that brings together about 50 beekeepers. He is committed to making Apimarão more dynamic and through the association create logistical conditions that facilitate the work of honey producers, whether in terms of extraction or commercialization.


    A forest engineer, and also a beekeeper himself, Alexandre Vieira sells pollen to tearooms, pastry shops or pharmacies but above all he is committed to the design and building of beehives. He produces apiaries regardless of size even small ones meant for self-consumption.


    The mountains of Marão and Aboboreira and the slopes of the river Ovelha have flora of heather, rosemary, eucalyptus and orange blossoms. Honey produced there is a very special EU food product which has the EU label “Protected geographical indication (PGI)”.


    In Amarante there are several others inspiring stories related to honey. There is a story of Alexandre Morais who today owns 200 hives and export products abroad, but it all started with a swarm entering his house. The successes story of the Dolmen store (Cooperative for Local and Regional Development); Tiago Morais, a professional firefighter and professed admirer of Nordic cultures that fulfilled his great passion for mead “the drink of the Gods” by producing it (Runas Hidromel). And nevertheless Inside Experiences, a local tour operator, who created two routes / tours to provide tourists with the honey experience.


    Summarised from article by Nicolau Ribeiro (Municipality of Amarante)


    Knowledge hub: Education

    BPN Re front page XS guidelines


    For a start we invite you to read a “pocket” version of guidelines with inspiring stories from 10 EU cities. It will be available in 12 EU languages by the beginning of December 2022. Though, to start a movement in your city, we recommend to deep-dive in full guidelines and tools described below.


    BPN front page guidelinesGuidelines: The evolution steps toward a Bee friendly city - The transfer journey. Find out more how to develop bee products and incorporate them into the Bee Path. In the BeePathNet partnership there were several ways how to achieve this and they are described in the guidelines for the development of urban beekeeping.


    Read chapter 8 Bee Products – The development of bee products in the Bee Path. There you will find how Ljubljana did it and some of its success stories such as, Special house honey dessert of the restaurant Pri Kolovratu, cooperation with the Slovene Ethnographic Museum….


    There are also cases studies from all BeePathNet partner cities Cesena (Italy), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Hegyvidek (Hungary), Nea Propontida (Greece) and Amarante (Portugal).

    BeePathNet newsletters library - visit the thematic newsletters archive and find inspiring urban stories, ideas for small scale activities with a big impact, involvement of different stakeholders etc… To get closer to citizens, we translated them in several languages.


    For more info visit our BeePathNet Reloaded webpage and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


    Some good practices for inspiration


    Just for a first inspiration, we present some of our Bee-friendly cities good practices.


    BeePathNet Reloaded partner – the city of Sosnowiec, Poland


    Sosnowiec the city where everybody is part of awareness raising


    group photo from SosnowiecSosnowiec beesIn Sosnowiec the city administration has succeeded in attracting the interest of various institutions and citizens who all work together in raising awareness about bees and why we need to change our attitudes and way of thinking to provide a brighter future for all of us.


    The institutions that have managed to incorporate the care for bees into their work can be found in many fields of work in Sosnowiec. Let us mention just a few of them: Zagłębie Media Library, Honey Comb Charity Shop, Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy, Sielecki Castle and many more. Even the Katowice Special Economic Zone has joined in the buzz and is sharing and spreading knowledge.





    BeePathNet lead partner – the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia

  / Najemi



    Urban beekeeper Gorazd Trušnovec gained entrepreneurial education through the Entrepreneurship Training Programme organized by the City of Ljubljana and the Cene Štupar Educational Centre, where he developed a special product called “Rent-a-beehive”.  The rent-a-beehive service is usually based on a one-year agreement, where customers can rent two or more beehives. For an annual rent, a client gets 10 large glasses of honey per hive, with the option of buying up all the remaining honey, and he/she can attend to all the beekeeping tasks with beekeepers explaining the individual operations. There are also mentoring packages, team-buildings for companies, workshops for children … Lately he started with a bee-keeping course as a rehabilitation program for prisoners.




    BeePathNet partner – the city of Amarante, Portugal





    Dolmen is the name of a co-operative for local development located in Amarante, Portugal. It includes members from different sectors – from the public sector (like the Municipality of Amarante), other associations, SMEs, producers and individuals.

    The mission of Dolmen is to promote local development through the valorization of local products, culture, heritage and people. Its operation focus is on rural areas, not only from Amarante, but also from other neighbour municipalities, such as Baião, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses, Penafiel and Resende. Crucial to their business development is participation at national fairs, the fair of the hypermarket Continente and fairs abroad.

    From urbact

    • Baena - Spain
    • Cesena - Italy
    • Fundão - Portugal
    • Jelgava - Latvia
    • LAG Pays des Condruses - Belgium
    • Mollet del Vallès - Spain
    • Monmouthshire County Council
    • Mouans-Sartoux - France
    • Petrinja - Croatia
    • Pyli - Greece
    • Södertälje - Sweden




    Watch all AGRI URBAN's videos!

    Download all Final Products


    • Kick-off meeting in June (Mollet des Valles).
    • Transnational meetings in October (LAG Payd de Condruses) and December (Pyli).
    • Transnational meetings in April (Sodertalye), June (Fundao), July (Jelgava) and September (Abergavenny).
    • Transnational meetings in March (Mouans Sartoux) and April (Petrinja). Final event in April (Baena).

    Rethinking Agri-food production in small and medium-sized European cities is the aim of this Action Planning network. Agri-food production is a mature industry that continues to play an important role in terms of GDP, employment and environmental sustainability. That is why new growth potentials must be activated by means of innovation, new business models and strategies. Our vision is to place cities at the core of a growing global movement that recognises the current complexity of food systems and the links between rural cities and nearby cities as a way to ensure regional development.


    AGRI-URBAN Action Planning Network logo
    The roots of the city
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  • BeePathNet

    LEAD PARTNER : Ljubljana - Slovenia
    • 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidék) - Hungary
    • Amarante - Portugal
    • Bydgoszcz - Poland
    • Cesena - Italy
    • Nea Propontida - Greece


    City of Ljubljana - Mestni trg 1 - 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia




    Phase I

    • Kick off meeting: Cesena (IT)
    • Transnational Conference: Ljubljana (SI)




    Phase II

    • Kick off meeting: 12th district of Budapest (HU)
    • BEE PATH good practice study tour with training for Transfer city ULG members: Ljubljana (SI)
    • Thematic transfer meetings: Back2Back meeting Budapest (HU), Bydgoszcz (PL)


    • Thematic transfer meeting in Cesena (IT) | Phase II: Thematic transfer meeting in Nea Propontida (GR)
    • Thematic transfer meeting in Amarante (PT)




    BEE PATH Good Practice logic is very simple - bees are the best indicator of healthy environment! BeePathNet Transfer network aims to up-grade and transfer BEE PATH concept, solutions and results from Ljubljana to 5 other EU Cities. It will address urban environmental, biodiversity and food self-sufficiency challenges linked to urban beekeeping through integrated and participative approaches, build key stakeholders’ capacity to influence relevant policies, develop and implement efficient solutions.

    Enriching the Urban Jungle with Bees
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    LEAD PARTNER : Mula - Spain
    • Belene - Bulgaria
    • Heraklion - Greece
    • Sibenik - Croatia
    • Cesena - Italy
    • Ukmergė - Lithuania
    • Malbork - Poland

    Ayuntamiento de Mula - Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 8 - 30170 Mula Tel.: 968 637 510


    • KAIRÓS Baseline Study
    • Thematic Warm-ups
    • Integrated Action Plan Roadmaps



    • Thematic workshop on Economy: Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation
    • Thematic Workshop on Space: Valorisation and Adaptive Reuse in the Heritage City
    • Thematic Workshop on Attractiveness: Re-imagining the heritage city: from local identity to destination marketing
    • Thematic Workshop on Social Cohesion: Accessibility and inclusiveness in historic quarters
    • Peer-Review and study visit to Bologna
    • Re-thinking Malbork as a heritage city. On-site peer review. Malbork [PL] May 25-26 2022
    • The KAIRÓS journey on heritage-driven urban regeneration. KAIRÓS final conference. Mula [ES], 27-28 April 2022




    Integrated Action Plans

    Heraklion IAP From research ... TO ACTION

    Read more here

    Heraklion - Greece
    Taking Mula to new heights

    Read more here !

    Mula - Spain
    Revitalizing Ukmergė old town by giving voice to the local community

    Read more here !

    Ukmergė - Lithuania
    Converting Belene into a desirable place to live

    Read more here !

    Belene - Bulgaria
    Reinforcing a city perspective to heritage

    Read more here !

    Malbork - Poland
    IAP Šibenik Green, smart and inclusive Old Town

    Read more here !

    Šibenik - Croatia
    The City Gate

    Read more here !

    Cesena - Italy

    KAIRÓS is an URBACT Action Planning Network focused on cultural heritage as a driver for sustainable urban development and regeneration. In ancient Greek KAIRÓS means the propitious moment, and this is the moment to test an innovative policy framework, combining a sound integrated approach with a real transformation purpose. To meet this challenge, the KAIRÓS model pursues the proper assemblage of five key dimensions, namely: space, economy, social accessibility, attractiveness and governance.

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  • Cross-generational training is a path to lasting green awareness

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    To act in an environment friendly manner is a key goal of modern cities. In order to instil ecological awareness in the mindset of each resident, it is a long and dynamic process. The first step is to follow the principle of “Primum non nocere” (First, to do no harm). For example, kindergartens, schools, NGOs, etc. use different teaching methods, such as workshops, trips, field games and more to achieve this goal. Cross-generational training is the most effective strategy to involve all parts of society in ecological awareness and education. The city of Bydgoszcz from Poland has developed several good practices in this field.


    Article in 6 languages:


    It is a long and dynamic process to develop ecological awareness, and understanding of the importance of nature, for human beings. The process changes in line with the development of man and is dependent on the current individual characteristics, interests, as well as social factors. This is why it is very important to shape environmental awareness and sensitivity in children as early as possible, while their minds are not yet limited by social and cultural conditioning. The crucial moment for making citizens knowledgeable about the environment is in their early youth. Specifically, by teaching them a universal and appropriate behavioural mode towards nature. The next step in the development of ecological awareness is based on specific information concerning nature gained through teaching.

    The basic goal of ecological education should focus on instilling the principle of “Primum non nocere” ("First, to do no harm”). The basis of this principle pertains with how to preserve and protect the richness of nature in our closest vicinity, especially in the areas with increased vulnerability due to human impact. The big question is how to achieve this goal?

    Unfortunately, in most cases, the core school and kindergarten curricula devote little attention to these issues, i.e. the unique role of pollinators and their meaning in our lives. That is why teachers’ eco-initiatives are pivotal and the role of non-governmental organizations, botanical and zoological gardens, cultural centres and municipalities in the progressive approach to nature preservation is crucial.

    There are several ways that you can address different groups. Workshops are one of the most valuable and effective teaching methods. Furthermore, there are class trips and field games, as well as different celebrations of ‘bee day’, bee-watching, establishment of school gardens …

    Summarised from article of Justyna Olszewska, The City of Bydgoszcz, Poland


    Knowledge hub: Education

    Guidelines: The evolution steps toward a Bee friendly city - The transfer journey Find out more how to develop educational programmes for kindergarten and primary school children with the intention of increasing the level of knowledge about bees and awareness of their importance among the younger residents of cities in the BeePathNet partnership with guidelines for the development of urban beekeeping.

    Read chapter 6 Education – Investing into our future. There you will find how Ljubljana did it and some of its good practices such as cooperation with the University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, Biotechnical Educational Centre Ljubljana, Institute for the Development of Empathy and Creativity Eneja, and the Urban Beekeepers Association.

    There is also a case study from Nea Propontida, Greece and Bydgoszcz, Poland, the BeePathNet partner cities.

    BeePathNet newsletters library - visit the thematic newsletters archive and find inspiring urban stories, ideas for small scale activities with a big impact, involvement of different stakeholders etc… To get closer to citizens, we translated them in several languages.

    For more info visit our BeePathNet Reloaded webpage and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


    Some good practices for inspiration

    Just for a first inspiration, we present some of our Bee-friendly cities good practices.

    BeePathNet Reloaded partner – the city of Bansko, Bulgaria

    Learning about pollinators in schools

    The Bansko schools - Secondary school Neofit Rilski and Primary School Paisiy Hilendarski implemented pollinator related topics in the teaching programme and in clubs.  Children learn about bees and the importance of pollinators through lectures, exploration, cultural heritage related to honey… and the youngest ones also through stories and dance. All based on the enthusiasm of devoted teachers and mentors as well as headmasters. In addition to the changed attitude towards environment and biodiversity it brings satisfaction and pride to schoolchildren of all ages.


    BeePathNet lead partner – the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia

    Educational programme for Kindergarten and Primary School Children

    Institute for the Development of Empathy and Creativity Eneja with the financial support of the City of Ljubljana designed a comprehensive programme for Kindergarten and Primary School Children. Detailed description of modules, didactic recommendations, working methods and teaching materials is described in Guidelines (page 74) and all materials are available online. More about Eneja institute HERE.


    BeePathNet partner – the city of Nea Propontida, Greece

    Educational Seminars for Teachers

    Given that the Arnea Environmental Educational Centre is the coordinating body of the Bee’s Work, Human Goods Network, it organises a three-day seminar for teachers on a subject in relation to bees. This is organised every spring in collaboration with the Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education of the region, and it also enjoys some financial support from the European Union.

    From urbact
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  • The second newsletter is all abuzz about Biodiversity

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    With this newsletter, we begin a series of theme dedicated newsletters, each linked to one of our partner cities.

    This issue is all about biodiversity in cities which depends on pollinators as much as on responsible residents. This theme is in the hands of Osijek (Croatia) and was discussed in depth on our partnership thematic meeting in November 2021. You can also read all about it, find out what took place since the last newsletter was issued and what will be going on in our partner cities in the next few months and in the process learn a thing or two about bees.


    The newsletter is available in English and all 5 partner languages:

    Български, English, Hrvatski, ItalianoPolski, Slovenščina

    Sign up to the BeePathNet mailing list and never miss our newsletter again! HERE

    If you want to read previous editions of our newsletter go HERE

    From urbact
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  • Bees are knocking at your door!

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    Bees are knocking at your door!



    Improved living environment for bees and other pollinators in six EU cities was the key focus of this year. Cities become a nicer place to live for all its residents, not just pollinators, but citizens as well. For the hard work and all the »honey« that we all put into greening, URBACT awarded Ljubljana with the opportunity to share its knowledge further and to build a strong network of Bee friendly cities. Cities of Amarante (Portugal), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Cesena (Italy), Hegyvidék – XII District of Budapest (Hungary) and Nea Propontida (Greece) were joined by Bansko (Bulgaria), Bergamo (Italy), Osijek (Croatia) and Sosnowiec (Poland). They took small steps such as planting melliferous plants, less mowing of public grounds, set up educational bee paths or just made sure that streets flourished. Activating societies, residents, the economy, public and private institutions… to do small projects is a breakthrough moment that transferred this initiative from “just another project” into a Bee-friendly city movement.

    For 2022 we wish that this green movement will also come to your doorstep.

    “Hardworking Bees” from

    The Network of Bee-friendly cities

    P.S.: It was the bumble bee and the butterfly who survived, not the dinosaur (Meridel Le Sueur).

    From urbact
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  • The Bee-friendly city movement is about spreading knowledge on urban beekeeping

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    BeePathNet Reloaded is about spreading knowledge on urban beekeeping to additional four EU cities that have proven its environmentally friendly orientation and would like to put special emphasis on creating a supporting environment for pollinators. Ljubljana, as a lead partner, will share the Bee-friendly city movement knowledge with Bansko in Bulgaria, Bergamo in Italy, Osijek in Croatia and Sosnowiec in Poland. This movement started in 2018 with Amarante, Portugal, Bydgoszcz, Poland, Cesena, Italy, Hegyvidék – XII District of Budapest, Hungary and Nea Propontida, Greece. The opportunity to transfer knowledge to additional four EU cities is URBACT’s special award for our hard work within BeePathNet partnership of and all the “honey” that all of us are putting in the preservation of the urban environment - place that we share with the bees.


    Article in 6 languages:





    Key project activities

    All project activities will mostly focus on the empowerment of local group managers and members from the four transfer cities, to gain the competence and knowledge needed for further development and upgrading of the urban holistic approach to beekeeping in their cities. We will also organise a series of thematic meetings and several promotional activities on a national and international level, to support development in four partner cities and spread the movement across the Europe.


    From the City of Ljubljana’s BEE PATH to the BeePathNet network and beyond

    It all started in 2015, when the City of Ljubljana created the BEE PATH, which in following years evolved to become a network of local stakeholders – providing a platform for discussion about challenges, searching for solutions, and development of new products on a voluntary basis, a touristic and educational path - presenting the importance of bees and urban beekeeping, an educational programme devoted to awareness-raising amongst target groups, as well as a “think-tank” and an incubator for development of new entrepreneurship ideas.

    Although Ljubljana’s success was awarded the title of URBACT Good Practice, it firmly believes that the BEE PATH is by no means a finished project, but rather a work in progress – growing and evolving on a daily basis. This approach was implemented with a matrix learning model in BeePathNet project (supported by URBACT) with which Ljubljana transferred the urban beekeeping good practice to five EU cities Amarante, Portugal, Bydgoszcz, Poland, Cesena, Italy, Hegyvidék – XII District of Budapest, Hungary and Nea Propontida, Greece. All six cities together started to build a Bee-friendly city network. Enthusiastic about the green changes the initiative is bringing to cities URBACT decided to co-finance the holistic knowledge transfer to additional four EU cities. And so BeePathNet Reloaded was born.


    Learn about urban beekeeping and join the initiative of Bee-friendly cities

    For our new four partners as well as other cities that would like to join, we:

    • developed guidelines and tools for knowledge transfer on urban beekeeping; developed by Ljubljana and supported by six cities good practices presentations; available on the project official webpage click here
    • are publishing thematic newsletters – Want to swarm with us? Subscribe to BeePathNet newsletter available in several languages – click here
    • “built up” the library (open its door) with thematic newsletters archive providing the thematic articles and inspiring stories. They are translated in several languages, to get closer to citizens.
    • permanently posting inspiring stories and news on urban beekeeping on the BeePathNet Facebook profile


    Vesna Erhart, Zavod EKOmeter

    From urbact
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  • Swarming of Urban Bees across Europe

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    Bees - honey COVER

    "We have proven that the BEE PATH concept works in various European cities. Now, we need to connect the dots into a network and allow urban bees to swarm across Europe” says Maruška Markovčič, from the City of Ljubljana (SI).

    From urbact
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    The logic behind the BEE PATH concept is very simple – bees live in a healthy environment. If European cities manage to preserve and improve the natural environment in urban areas, which allows bees and other wild pollinators to thrive, then they are on the right path to environmental protection, preserving the biodiversity, ensuring high-quality living conditions and preservation of food self-sufficiency potentials.

    Sounds straightforward and logical, right?! However, how hard is it to actually achieve this in a modern European city with all its needs and challenges?

    “It is not easy, but it is also not impossible!” says Maruška Markovčič – the BEE PATH good practice developer in the City of Ljubljana and the Project Coordinator for the BeePathNet project – and continues: “The most important thing for any city is to first decide that they actually want to develop and implement their sustainable urban policies. Then the process of making our cities more sustainable can start.”   

    In Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia where 290,000 citizens coexist with over 180 million bees and who knows how many wild pollinators – this process started in 2005 with development of a new sustainable city development strategy “Vision 2050” and a new Spatial Plan. In about 10 years Ljubljana won the title of “the Green Capital of Europe 2016”.



    One would think that such a reward would represent the crown achievement. However, it proved to be just a springboard, as the success provided a supportive and nurturing environment for bolder green urban development ideas and projects. In the following years, the City of Ljubljana encouraged and supported new urban concepts including urban gardening, urban forestry, and urban beekeeping.

    An excellent example of such efforts is the BEE PATH, which became the synonym for all activities linked to bees and wild pollinators in Ljubljana. Through two and a half years of its existence it evolved to become:

    1. A NETWORK of partners interested in urban beekeeping – providing a platform for discussion on challenges, searching for solutions and development of new products on a voluntary basis.
    2. A TOURISTIC AND EDUCATIONAL PATH designed to connect urban beekeepers and other bee-related points of interest, thus presenting the importance of bees and urban beekeeping to visitors.
    3. AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME devoted to raising awareness amongst target audiences.
    4. A “THINK-TANK” AND AN “INCUBATOR" for development of new entrepreneurship ideas.


    Its success was on the European level recognized by URBACT Programme, as it was declared a good practice. Maruška explains: “This enabled the City of Ljubljana to reach out to other European cities and develop the BeePathNet project with one clear goal - to replicate the success of Ljubljana and transfer the BEE PATH good practice to other cities.”


    The BeePathNet partnership linked six EU Cities – Ljubljana (SLO) as the lead partner, Cesena (ITA), Bydgoszcz (POL), Amarante (POR), XII. District of Budapest (HUN) and Nea Propontida (GRE) as 1st wave partners under the URBACT transfer networks framework. Such partnership allowed the BeePathNet project to cover the majority of climate conditions for beekeeping in EU (fore example Atlantic, Continental, Mediterranean and Alpine climate conditions), as well as to take into account cultural and social differences between EU cities during the transfer process.


    “Through it, we proved not only that the BEE PATH concept can be adapted and transferred to other European cities, but also that the good practice itself can be further evolved – based on knowledge and experience gained from transfer cities.”  Maruška says and continues: “The BeePathNet project also allowed us to understand the importance of the flexibility in the transfer process. Or in other words - how to adapt modality and content of the bee path to actual needs of transfer cities, how to connect the bee path story with already existing own good practices in transfer cities and how to make sure all six bee paths remain connected on the transnational level.”

    Good practice description, transfer methodology, knowledge and own good practices form transfer cities, as well as all lessons learned during the transfer process, were collected in the document titled The evolution steps toward a bee-friendly city – a comprehensive guidebook that can easily be used by any city interested to follow the example of the BeePathNet partnership.    

    “It was such an intensive learning experience for all of us… And you only realize this by taking your time and going through all these fantastic outputs we produced together. I am so proud of all project partners – not because they created bee paths in transfer cities, but because they made them unique!” Maruška concludes her thoughts on the 1st wave partnership: “It is because of them and their efforts that the transfer process can be considered successful. And you know, success opens new doors…”

    Encouraged by successful transfer of the good practice to 1st wave transfer cities, URBACT Programme provided an opportunity for the City of Ljubljana as the Lead partner to enlarge the network and replicate the transfer process with four additional European Cities. Osijek (CRO), Bergamo (ITA), Bansko (BG) and Sosnowiec (POL) accepted the challenge and became the 2nd wave partners of the BeePathNet – Reloaded project.

    The 2nd wave is understood by the City of Ljubljana as a very unique opportunity. On one hand it is a perfect opportunity to expand the network of bee-friendly cities, but on the other hand it as also the opportunity to go one step further and address issues the partnership could not address in the 1st wave.

    Maruška explains: “Suddenly we were no longer 1 of 23 Transfer Networks under the URBACT umbrella, but 1 of only 7 Transfer Networks allowed to continue in the 2nd wave. You start thinking – wow, someone else believes we are doing something right! And this brings certain pressure… Not because we were not confident about the transfer potential of the BEE PATH good practice to 2nd wave transfer cities, but because this forced us to rethink our long-term goals and the strategy to achieve them.”

    The BeePathNet project has shown how to take a sustainable urban development policy and put it into practice – not in one, but in six European Cities. With the BeePathNet – Reloaded project we will do the same in four more cities. And this is already a considerable result that should be promoted and shared with a wider audience.

    This is why Maruška is very clear on the ambition of the BeePathNet – Reloaded project: “We want to expand the network with the BeePathNet – Reloaded project and spread our key messages. Not only to our 2nd wave transfer cities, but primarily to decision makers on local, regional, national and European level.”

    As the BEE PATH concept relied on the bottom-up approach and successfully mobilised citizens in its implementation, we were able to do it with limited, but well managed, resources. This is more important than one would think, as non-investment and smaller-budget projects are often considered less important by decision makers. Maruška explains: “Just as crowd-sourcing proved that citizens can significantly impact innovation and development, we have to raise the awareness of decision makers that citizen driven initiatives can successfully spearhead the implementation of sustainable urban policies – efficiently, effectively and with high impact on the community. We simply need their political and operational support.”    

    Then Maruška points out another issue – the negative approach used by decision makers when discussing implementation of any new policy. “Constantly pointing out all the challenges linked to sustainable urban policy implementation, when one can simply switch the rhetoric and look for partners who are interested in exploiting opportunities coming out of the new policies doesn’t make much sense to me.”  She continues: “Because we relied on our citizens to implement the policy in practice and allowed citizens to exploit synergies for their own growth and development of new small business opportunities, we created a multi-win situation. Through implementation of the policy, we improved the living conditions in our city, enabled sustainable development, rose the awareness, created citizen ownership and subsequently ensured the policy longevity.”


    The proof of that can be found in 1st wave transfer cities, as all of them developed Long-term Urban Beekeeping Development Plans, as well as maintained the dynamics of regular ULG meetings after the BeePathNet project ended. Maruška continues: “It is so important to make sure we involve 1st wave transfer cities and use them as knowledge hubs and trainers for 2nd wave transfer cities. If we stay connected and keep the momentum going, our key messages will be so much stronger.”   

    As the BEE PATH concept was based on urban sustainability concept and developed to bridge the mistrust between the city administration and citizens, it can be easily reused to address other urban challenges. Maruška adds: “The more I think about it, the more I realize that we succeeded in creating a model for citizen involvement in almost any policy implementation process.”


    “If decision makers are serious about implementation of the Green Deal and other sustainability policies, they should understand the value of ready-to-implement policy implementation models, such as the BEE PATH, and support us.” Maruška concludes.

    And then our discussion turns to a more distant vison of the future. In it, after successful implementation of the BeePathNet – Reloaded project, the BEE PATH concept becomes a well known and used approach, while the Bee-Friendly Cities Network becomes an important mechanism for city-to-city cooperation. As such it is able to work with cities across EU on implementation of their sustainable urban policies – thus, making European cities more sustainable and resilient.

    It is a challenge, we know! However, as they say: “A landslide starts with the first pebble!” Well, we have moved at least ten pebbles so far and proved that it can be done. This is why we dare to invite all European Cities to join the Bee-Friendly Cities Network and participate in this urban sustainability landslide.





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    Have you heard the buzz? Your city can also join the Bee Path Cities movement!
  • Enriching the urban jungle with bees

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    How Ljubljana inspired Cesena to address the fundamental role that pollinators play in ecosystems and in urban environments.


    The coordinator of the Cesena URBACT Local Group shares with us their transfer story as part of the URBACT BeePathNet network.


    Getting to know the world of bees has been a turning point to deepen my awareness about human pressure on the environment, given their capital role in human life while being extremely sensitive to its consequences. Bees let us open discussions about climate change and biodiversity: two vital issues provoking a critical evaluation of our economic system and the society we want to build, calling into question the very sense of our actions.

    My awareness on the unbalanced connection between human actions and the environment has grown over the years, working on urban environments and urban regeneration issues. The necessity of a new ecosystemic approach appeared to me to be ever more urgent, where humans would assume a different role than the one of a parasite.

    In the BeePathNet I found an opportunity to enhance my project design skills in relation to this kind of approach, and in particular, the GP of Ljubljana was of great and thought-provoking inspiration.

    LEARNING PROCESS – from the Ljubljana strategy to the building of Cesena Transfer Plan: knowledge and understanding to find new actions

    The Ljubljana Good Practice


    The Boot camp that took place in Ljubljana in April 2019 was of great relevance for me. The strategy that the city of Ljubljana decided to follow could be defined as a down/up approach, focused on using all the available spaces to increase the number of apiaries within the city as much as possible. This approach includes the identification of green urban spaces on the ground level (down) and flat roofs, on the sky level (up), as spaces adequate to house beehives. I have learnt which are the main characteristics that both the locations should have. Since I am a trained architect, this new awareness and knowledge (even if basic) gives me the possibility to support the technical urban offices of the Municipality working together with the URBACT Local Group (ULG) members.

    Moreover, in Ljubljana the close connection between apiculture and society is very evident, as demonstrated by the time beekeepers dedicate to the schools and also by the fact that many teachers are also beekeepers. In fact, simply introducing bees in a city is not enough to have a real urban apiculture: to reach different goals and cover different fields, a network is needed. This is the way to truly raise awareness in the people and in the future citizens: the network is the fundamental starting point to build and to share knowledge and mindfulness, since bees represent a chance to talk about so much else.

    City Visits

    How urban spaces can become real biodiversity havens supporting city pollinators, but also means to engage and actively involve the citizens, strengthening their relationship with the PA, appeared evident also during our City Visit in Budapest, led by the Hegyvidék district’s team.

    In Bydgoszcz, the focus was on the “Education” theme, thanks to the diffusion of projects for all ages, aiming to share knowledge, thus building an ever-growing awareness. Starting from the BeePathNet educational journey destined to elementary schoolers, then the Botanical Gardens Casimir the Great, hosting several beehives as teaching tool and for the production of honey, thanks to the efforts of a polish beekeeper and ULG member, and finally the urban apiary installed on the University rooftop, heart of an educational and employability training project for adults.



    Transfer: the objectives of Cesena

    To transfer the Ljubljana and other partners Good Practice, Cesena chose to focus on the strengthening of people’s awareness and eradicate the distorted perception of bees as a threat, still so engraved in society, by emphasising the fundamental role that pollinators play in the ecosystem (also in urban environments). The techniques borrowed from Ljubljana to widen the network, engage and educate the citizens with a new scope on the territory, pass also through the valorisation of apiary products and the promotion of a different kind of tourism. On this journey, the exchange with the partner cities is an opportunity for dialogue, finding shared solutions to local issues.

    ULGC: growth of the culture of collaboration

    Being the BeePathNet ULG coordinator let me put my expertise and organisational skills at the service of the group, supporting the collaboration between the members to:

    • identify new contacts and widen the network;
    • facilitate the rooting of a deeper awareness about the importance of collaborative actions in creating new opportunities;
    • promote the growth of new project designing realities able to evolve independently.

    To reach these goals, it is essential to get into relations with the people forming the group, to get to know each other and make individual skills and expectations emerge, therefore facilitating the team building. To this end, a simple on-line questionnaire submitted to the group at the beginning of our path, has been very useful and even brought out a common will to share expertise, knowledge and experience, especially on the local level.

    TRANSFER PLAN E WORLD BEE DAY – from personal awareness to a shared Action Plan and event organisation

    Action Plan: Methods


    To turn ideas and visions into a “Cesena Bee Path”, the ULG group has been divided into sub- groups dedicated to specific themes and activities, identifying ideas potential development, possible synergies, and local, regional and international funding sources.

    As a tool to ultimately turn concepts into actions, a “Navigator” has been devised: an instrument supporting the sharing of ideas and proposals while enabling their discussion, useful for reaching shared conclusions and choices about the actions to be included in the 2019- 2020 Action Plan. It also enabled the group to be constantly up to date on the work progress, offering a clear visualization of the results. Due to the lockdown, and its consequent necessity to rethink the means of collaboration, the Navigator had to be turned into a digital tool. That was overall a positive occurrence, since the new tool adopted maintains the original effectiveness while offering a wider feature potential.

    Action Plan: the Map

    The exchange with the City partners has brought up the value of the Bee Path as a common platform for the dissemination of awareness and knowledge about apidology, but moreover, for the promotion of a new kind of beekeeping-driven tourism & production, a concept that is materialized in the realization of a thematic map.

    The map of Cesena was designed with the City centre and the territory connection in mind, while promoting all realities related to bees and bee products. The choice to issue an open call to collect and select the points of interest has been an opportunity to widen the project reach.

    In the words of Martina and Enrico, beekeepers of the Società Agricola OrtiCà: thanks to the map, “anyone who wishes to get to know the world of bees and the products they give us could use it. I’m thinking of professional cooks, patisseries, ice cream makers with whom a network of multidisciplinary relations could, hopefully, be created, which is a goal for this project but also something we seek and wish to realize, and eventually translates into the valorisation of the territory”.

    Action Plan: il WBD (on- and off-line)

    On May 20th, 2019, our first World Bee Day, proclaimed in 2018 by the UN thanks to the city of Ljubljana, took place in Cesena. It was a beautiful day, we took a walk through the places of the city that speak of beekeeping, respect for biodiversity, and respect for pollinators. It has been an impressive occasion of sharing and participation, and discovering of places and people. Bees once again prove to be a powerful vector of messages, concerning respect for nature, the protection of biodiversity, the need for a healthier relationship between man and the environment also, and above all, in the urban context.


    The 2020 World Bee Day found us in a full lockdown, but we couldn’t possibly renounce such a relevant opportunity for exchange and dissemination, so a different approach was needed to host the event. The lead partner and all the realities involved came up together with the concept of an online event, which has been a challenging opportunity that brought out many positive features and contributions especially from the ULG members. The co-planning process and the commitment of the ULG members and local network has been invaluable for the celebration of the first Cesena WORLD BEE DAY entirely on-line and the creation of a series of new digital contents for schools, families and citizens has been a relevant contribution to the project diffusion. All contents were presented from time to time on the event Facebook and YouTube page and on the dedicated municipal website.

    Of course, given the obstacles and difficult circumstances, the outcome of the day could not reach the expectations of an off-line event, as brought up by the ULG beekeepers. In fact, if, on one hand, the digital tools let us reach and involve a larger and younger public, on the other hand the face to face experience is invaluable to really get to understand the bee world. Nonetheless, the ULG participation and great collaborative approach has been a great success and left me very satisfied.



    The Cesena ULG was formed as a ‘regional’ network from the start, including partners from neighbouring cities – Forli and Bologna – joining the Cesena core. In the 2nd year the group spread even further, all the way to Turin and Rome.

    ULG members are an interesting mix of beekeepers, teachers, farmers, entrepreneurs, various NGOs and associations, but also researchers and private companies. With 47 ULG members, the group is of a medium size, but “a very active” one.

    The diagram on the right visualises a constant increase in the level of cooperation among ULG members, demonstrating the effects of continuous and goal-oriented work, the benefits of a constructive and creative ULG environment, and the resulting mind change.


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