How this Black beekeeper is helping save the bees

Simone Fyffe says her love for honey and the bees is a way for her to reconnect with nature while helping cultivate it.
Simone Fyffe is seen here caring for her bee colony. Her business, Art + Honey Co. by PCS LLC, incorporates her two passions - art and bees. (Photo Courtesy of Sydney Sims/Capital B)

Credit: Sydney Sims

Credit: Sydney Sims

Simone Fyffe is seen here caring for her bee colony. Her business, Art + Honey Co. by PCS LLC, incorporates her two passions - art and bees. (Photo Courtesy of Sydney Sims/Capital B)

This story was originally published by Capital B Atlanta.

You can find Simone Fyffe at Atlantic Station in Midtown every Sunday, standing among the array of tents and tables where dozens of local entrepreneurs gather to market their products to passing customers leaving the assortment of restaurants and stores within the shopping plaza.

Her display is intentionally artsy, decorated with colorful labels that feature a cartoon image of her and art supplies. She has original paintings displayed nearby for purchase — along with honey that she harvests herself and sells.

“My life, at the moment, has been kind of consumed by the bees,” she says. “And I wanted to incorporate it into my business, so I’ve done a lot of research and educated myself in being a beekeeper and dealing with honey-based products.”

Fyffe used to be a medical assistant before switching gears to become a full-time artist in 2017. But when art didn’t cover the bills, she says she had to look for other ways to make a living. During this period, she spent a lot of time exploring Georgia’s 60 state parks and noticed something interesting: Every park sold honey. That’s when she saw a business opportunity.

Next thing she knew, Fyffe said she was fully invested in bees. By 2021, she had purchased a hive that she began to cultivate in her backyard. Now, that original colony has grown to nine hives that she utilizes as the main source for her locally produced honey products.

Fyffe sells her products at local festivals and markets while blending her passion for bees with her love of art through her business, Art + Honey Co. by PCS LLC. She incorporates her art pieces by doing live paintings at events to entice passersby to stop and see what she has to offer.

Her honey assortments range from luxury honey-infused perfumes and body butters to signature raw, organic honey blends like lavender dream, watermelon ginger, and garlic and green onion. All the ingredients used to infuse her honey come from her own garden, which she tends to year-round.

Despite utilizing the honey produced from her hives, Fyffe says she tries to be as non-transactional with her bees as possible, taking only what she needs for her products and ensuring that enough is available to the hive for its survival, given bees’ endangered status.

“I just kind of collect my honey and move on because, you know, we need them,” Fyffe said.

Simone Fyffe said she teaches beekeeping classes as a way to expose more Black people to the practice. (Photo Courtesy of Sydney Sims/Capital B)

Credit: Sydney Sims

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Credit: Sydney Sims

She has a point.

About one-third of the food we eat comes from plants that honey bees pollinate, and they currently face environmental threats, which has fueled a national call to  “save the bees.” The most known of these threats is a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, where entire colonies of worker bees leave behind their queen bees and food resources. However, in the past few years, instances of this have decreased nationally, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As a beekeeper, Fyffe understands how dire the issue is. And as a Black woman, she also understands that she’s somewhat of a rarity. Fyffe said that Black people are underrepresented in the bee community. That’s why she makes herself available to those who need an access point to the industry and teaches gardening and beekeeping classes.”There is a honey community, and that professional honey community is very white.” Fyffe said. “Even with the Gwinnett County Beekeepers club, I think that for the last two years I’ve been there … there’s been maybe four black people.”

Fyffe approaches this in organic and simple ways, like opening her home up for hive tours, where beekeepers of all levels can come and see her bees. She provides all the equipment and makes herself available to any questions posed. She also serves as a mentor, with the goal of introducing more Black people to the wonder of bees.

Lindsay Zellner is one of those guests who ventured out to Fyffe’s home to check out her hives after she says she found her via Facebook in a group, Ladies of Gwinnett County.

“She posted in the group saying that she had available classes for gardening and beekeeping,” Zellner said.  “I clicked on the post and I signed up for her beekeeping class.”

Zellner, who lives in Winder, a town about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, says beekeeping is her opportunity to connect with nature in a way that meets her city ordinances, which doesn’t allow her to keep livestock. She says the intimacy of the class size made her feel confident enough to take on an industry that she says is often seen as intimidating to get started in.

“It’s very, very helpful to have other members in the community who are willing to dedicate their time to mentorship for things like these, especially hobbies that can be very intimidating at first, like working with bees,” she told Capital B Atlanta. “It’s been great to not only attend her class, but then to learn that I can count on her to be there for me throughout my beekeeping journey.”

But, as her business continues to grow, Fyffe says she plans to grow beyond just the bees.

She has hopes to become a full-time, off-the-grid homesteader, another niche community that she says is growing among the Black community. For her, that means buying a large section of land, owning livestock, growing all of her food on site, and relying on solar and natural energy for power.

For now, though, she says she will continue to be a community resource for those who are interested in joining the beekeeping industry or those who simply want some good, local honey.

“I’m trying to do everything I can while I’m here, just because I feel like this is what I meant to do,” Fyffe said. “I want to create my space. I want to create a space for other people doing what I love.”

Credit: Capital B

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Credit: Capital B


Today’s story comes from our partner Capital B Atlanta, which is part of Capital B, a Black-led, nonprofit local and national news organization reporting for Black communities across the country. Visit them at or on Twitter @CapitalB_ATL.

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