Buzzed honeys kiva profile

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David

Buzzed Honeys

Los Angeles, CA

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Personal Story

I grew up in central Illinois, ignoring some of the richest farmland in the world. Across the street from my house, literally right across Race St., were vast fields of corn and soybeans. I barely noticed them. My interest in agriculture was limited to the family garden, which I hoped my mother would not ask me to weed.

Instead of plants, I liked old movies and documentaries. After film school, I was fortunate to start my career writing a paleontology series for the Discovery channel. Since then, I've scripted and produced hundreds of hours of TV for Animal Planet, Food Network and History Channel, among others. It's an endlessly fascinating job, since I get to learn about new subjects every day. It's also sedentary, requiring long hours at the computer, reviewing even longer hours of video footage.

Last year, while researching colony collapse disorder and the challenges facing honey bees, I made a huge creative leap, "Like the insects and people I'm writing about, I could go outdoors." I turned off my monitor, and I leaped even further, "Even though I live in the city of Los Angeles, I can play a part in the natural world."

When I moved a bee hive into the yard, my sons, 7 and 9 at the time, were my biggest supporters. It made perfect sense to them that we'd have 50,000 stinging insects in our back yard. (Although we've only been stung a couple of times, really!) After one friend heard we had bees, he said, "hold on, I'll give you the number of a great exterminator." That was a pretty typical reaction when we first got started.

Pretty soon, however, I discovered hundreds of passionate (and mostly clandestine) urban beekeepers all over Los Angeles. Clubs like Honeylove.org formed to support city bees and the people who give them homes. And of course, there's the honey.

After our first harvest, my kids set up a little farm stand to sell our backyard honey to the neighbors. Once they sold out, we went to other beekeepers in the area to re-stock, and at our next sale Buzzed Honeys was born. (Yes, the kids picked the name.)

Business Description

The past year has been a wild ride. We got a Cottage Food Operation permit which allows us to bottle honey in our home kitchen. (The L.A. County Health Department took some convincing, since they'd never heard of a beekeeper in the city bottling raw honey before. Apparently we are trailblazers.)

We have met dozens of urban and rural beekeepers in Southern California and beyond, trading honey and stories from the hive. Along the way, we've sampled single-source varietals like Avocado, Blueberry, Black Locust and Eucalyptus, and discovered that no two honeys taste the same. Even within the city, bees in Hollywood, Long Beach, and Downtown LA all produce honeys with their own distinct flavors.

The response from our customers has been overwhelming. From a front porch operation owned and operated by elementary school kids, we've expanded into more than a dozen retail shops in L.A. and Oregon. Our honey is distributed online by Good Eggs in LA and Mouth.com in Brooklyn, with more distribution deals in the works. The CSA produce company Farm Fresh to You now features our honey in their produce boxes, available to customers all over California -- and I haven't even told you about our wholesale business.

(Sounds pretty good, right? Try convincing an 8-year-old he'll be spending his weekend filling 1,000 jars of honey. I joke! The boys have totally stepped up. And they've earned enough money to start saving for a car.)

What is the purpose of this loan?

Buzzed Honey's has two complimentary missions:

1. To encourage urban beekeeping
2. To make great, local honey available to everyone.

So far, it's been working.

We have new orders coming in every week, but summer vacation will be over soon. That means our two best workers will return to school to start 3rd and 6th grade.

The Kiva loan will make it possible to grow our business in several ways. We are establishing more bee yards around the city, which will require more hive boxes and frames, as well as a few grown-up beekeepers to help me manage them. For the next harvest, we will need a bigger honey extractor that is up to the task.

As production increases, so do our other up-front costs. Packing hundreds of pounds (thousands of jars) of honey in our home kitchen -- while legal and convenient -- is not ideal. Starting soon, we will move the operation to a rental commercial kitchen.

Thanks for your help. Next time you're in Los Angeles, come visit the hives!

David's loan is endorsed by Good Eggs Los Angeles. The information below explains why his trustee thinks David is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

1-6 months

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

David sells his urban and farm-produced honeys on Good Eggs, our online local grocery delivery service. We communicate regularly about his sales, marketing opportunities, new honey products and events happening at Good Eggs.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

David is very enthusiastic about his honey business that he started with his two sons. His business is very young.

He started with a simple roadside stall, and already has grown the business with new labels and sizes, new sources of honey, and new avenues for sales. He's serious about growing his business and creating new honey enthusiasts!

David never fails to find opportunities for growth, marketing, promotion, and collaboration. He's very thorough, diligent, and very detail oriented.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

David is a true innovator, and is helping to support urban honey production. His business is not just about him and his family: its about building a micro-industry that supports small farmers, urban bee-keepers, and our pollinator ecosystems!

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PAYING BACK

A loan of $5,000 helps me to purchase hive boxes, a honey extractor and meet the financial demands of growing our home-based Cottage Food Operation into a commercial honey company.

Disbursed Jul 15, 2014
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
6 months
Listed:
Jun 30, 2014
Disbursed:
Jul 15, 2014
Paying Back:
Jul 16, 2014

About Buzzed Honeys

Industry:
Agriculture
Years in Operation:
6 months - 1 year
Website:
buzzedhoneys.com
Follow:
Facebook Twitter
Badges:
Badge connectedness gold small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
Grocery Company
Tier:
Third Tier trustee
Location:
Los Angeles, CA
On Zip Since:
Apr 15, 2014
(17 months)
Loans Endorsed:
6
Total Value:
$30,000
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
6
Paying Back Late:
0
Repaid in Full:
0
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
100%
Why are you endorsing David?

David is very enthusiastic about his honey business that he started with his two sons. His business is very young.

He started with a simple roadside stall, and already has grown the business with new labels and sizes, new sources of honey, and new avenues for sales. He's serious about growing...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.