Wellstar and Bee Downtown

Man in beekeeping gear kneels next to a behivePhoto courtesy of Wellstar Health System

Wellstar Health System distributed the following press release about their partnership with Bee Downtown, an innovative program that will pair beehives with Wellstar Vinings Health Park in Smyrna.

Marietta, Ga. (December 14, 2021) — Catalyst by Wellstar, the first-of-its-kind global digital health and innovation center of Wellstar Health System, today announced a partnership with Bee Downtown to house three beehives at Wellstar Vinings Health Park in Smyrna, Ga., with the first bee colonies moving into the hives this week. Wellstar is the first healthcare system to join Bee Downtown’s sustainability movement.

While the Wellstar team is caring for patients inside the Vinings Health Park, Wellstar’s bees will be busy outside creating billions of pollination events, positively impacting a three-mile radius around the campus. This initiative will help nurture local honeybees and native bees, which are dying at alarming rates, while contributing to environmental sustainability. Honeybees are the world’s number one pollinator and are responsible for pollinating 70 of the world’s top 100 food crops.

In addition to the direct positive impact the bees will have on the Vinings Health Park community, Wellstar plans to donate 150 jars of honey produced by the bees to Open Hand Atlanta, the largest community-based providers of home-delivered meals and nutrition services in the Southeastern United States. The honey jars will be included in “market baskets” of groceries donated to community members in the metro Atlanta area who are experiencing food insecurity.

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“By offering a home to these beehives, Wellstar is using its physical footprint in Georgia to make a lasting impact on the environment while contributing to the nutrition and health of people in our communities,” said Jaimie Clark, director, executive digital strategies and innovation, Wellstar Health System. “Our aim at Catalyst by Wellstar is to incorporate practical and sustainable business practices that have positive, lasting impact as we design the future of healthcare.”

Wellstar Health System is planning an Earth Day celebration in April 2022 to showcase the beehives to the community with fun and educational bee-themed activities. Open Hand Atlanta will participate by hosting a cooking demonstration to share how the delicious locally produced honey can be incorporated into nutritious meals.

“Open Hand Atlanta has partnered with Wellstar Health System for the past two years to help bring nutrition to those in need in the metro Atlanta area,” said Matthew Pieper, executive director, Open Hand Atlanta. “We are pleased to extend our relationship to include this unique, sweet opportunity!”

In addition to the environmental and community benefits of the partnership with Bee Downtown, Wellstar team members will be able to take part in fun and educational Honey Camps, Hive Tours, Beekeeping classes—and of course, enjoy honey produced by the bees.

“We are so proud to partner with Wellstar, our first healthcare system to join the Bee Downtown Bee Team,” said Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, founder and CEO of Bee Downtown. “At Bee Downtown we have the pleasure of working with many of Atlanta’s leading companies to bring sustainable agriculture and employee-engagement onto their campuses. It is truly an honor to have Wellstar join this community as well.”

Please visit www.wellstar.org/beedowntown to learn more about the Wellstar bees.

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