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Chances are that you didn’t know that many of your favorite foods exist because of those nasty honey bees you’ve been taught to run away from. Strawberries, almonds, carrots, avocados, squash, quinoa, blueberries, and much more would not survive if it weren’t for the work of those bees.


Over the past several years, honey bees have been rapidly declining, putting our entire ecosystem at risk. They are essential to the world’s sustainability and crucial to the health of our diets and our planet’s livelihood.


A local cafe in Cincinnati is paving the way toward a solution to our honey bee dilemma. Sleepy Bee Cafe is raising awareness and paying tribute to the bees by providing local, GMO and pesticide free (and super yummy) food to Cincinnatians, while focusing on sustainability and community. Sleepy Bee proves without a doubt that food can be healthy, taste amazing, be good for the environment, and beneficial to the community all at the same time.

The cafe is owned and operated by Dr. John Hutton and Sandra Gross. This power couple wears many hats, ranging from being a pediatrician, entrepreneur, researcher, parent, and activist. When it comes to the issue of keeping the environment, the bees, and our own bodies healthy, John and Sandra are leading the way for us. When I met with John, he said that with regards to these issues, our weakness lies in our inability to anticipate the problems we have and take preventative measures before they become irreversible. “As a pediatrician, that’s what I do,” he says. He looks at children’s mental and physical health and asks: What can be done now to ensure that this person is healthy in the future? We have to adopt this mentality when it comes to the environment as well. We cannot wait until all of the honey bees are gone, we lose a whole food group, and make the entire ecosystem lopsided before we take action. We can’t wait until the ice caps are completely melted, or until pesticides are causing disease outbreaks. We must work together and act now.

And how should we take action? John says he holds to the saying, “think globally, act locally.” If you see a need in your community, bring your ideals, your vision, whatever you have. Put it on the table as you work to meet that need. Bring your perspective into the workplace. Start a business. Be innovative. Don’t get stuck in the ways of the past.

But we have to do it together.

After all, that’s how the honey bees do it: as a community. They work together. They are strategic and organized. They find existing, rundown structures and breathe life into them to build their homes and workplaces. With local art featured on the walls of the restaurant, fundraisers supporting local organizations, and strong relationships fostered with local farmers and vendors, John and Sandra understand the importance of fostering authentic relationships. The Sleepy Bee team believes in coming together as a community to bring change.

Check out Sleepy Bee here, and be on the lookout! The cafe is currently expanding to more locations in Cincinnati and plans to eventually bring their restaurants nationwide. Next time you’re in Cincinnati, definitely stop here for brunch. Because honey, you will not regret it.

Learn more about Sleepy Bee
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At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe