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Urban bees, gastronomic pleasures

Miel Mtl

Being passionate about slow food, zero waste, earth and local products, I had a real crush on entrepreneur Nick Melka of Miel Mtl . Having faced serious health problems in 2012, he received a significant number of diagnoses: Lyme disease, damage to his heart, digestive system and liver. He was heavily medicated to try to reduce the discomfort (40 to 60 pills a day). He spent 23 hours a day in bed, most of the time in hospital. At only 20 years old, he hit rock bottom and lacked energy and vitality. He was looking for a way to heal and be able to start living again. “Several doctors and specialists later, I meet a Chinese doctor who changes my life! He recommends that I take three tablespoons of raw honey a day,” Nick Melka tells me. Only three days later, he starts to eat solid food again, to have energy to face his days. Over time, he resumed his physical activities. He wants to know more about this product which is slowly giving him back his life!

Nick, Miel Mtl

Nick Melka, founder of Miel MTL

From a jar of honey will be born a passion

Nick gives himself a challenge: to discover the raw honeys on the market. Each honey, by its taste, its characteristics and its properties, brings its share of flavor and uniqueness. A passion was born! He now wants to create own medicinal honey and give back to the bees what they given ". He quietly talks about his project around him and begins to get orders. The more he talks about it, the more potential customers he has. He therefore developed a name, an identity and started his business in 2015. He then planned to sell 200 pots and install seven hives in two locations in Montreal. It is rather with the sale of 1,200 pots that he ends his first year!

Honey Mtl beehive

From psychology to beekeeping

“I had already eaten honey as a child, without knowing anything about the benefits. I didn't have any beekeepers in my family, it was all new”, continues Nick when he tells me about his background. He consumed this product very little and his knowledge was limited to the fact that bees produced it. He studied psychology, set up several projects in his youth and had seven different jobs before becoming an entrepreneur-beekeeper. His thirst for knowledge and his creative side drove him to develop projects and he knew that when the opportunity knocked at his door, he would jump into a business project with both feet. As much as he develops his honey products, he educates people on the importance of bees. His business project reflects this desire since Nick has two roles: retail (natural product stores, neighborhood boutiques, health stores) and partnership/hive host (restaurants, businesses, schools, etc.) who accept to house beehives in their homes.

Honey Mtl honeycombs

Interesting little facts: honey bees have 50,000 individuals in the colony, in nearly 100 colonies that forage about 30 million flowers annually. Nick tells me that "his bees" make it possible to hire environmental students from several colleges and universities in the territory (McGill, Bishop, Dawson) to do studies specific to the colonies. He finds it important to preserve and protect the colonies of bees that visit the flowers so that they then become fruits or vegetables. “It's an investment in agriculture and for the environment,” Nick points out when discussing the injection of funds from honey sales into environmental projects.

From total losses to dazzling success

Miel Mtl partners

After a successful first year, Miel Mtl loses all its colonies during the hibernation period. It is important to note that one colony is equivalent to $10,000 of investment! A difficult blow to take for this young entrepreneur who is thinking of “throwing in the towel” and putting the key in the door. Instead, he uses his resilience and passion to find a way to get up. The idea of ​​shared hives is taking shape. He creates partnerships with Montreal restaurants ( Richmond , Foiegwa ) who host their own beehive. The idea caused a sensation with companies, schools (eg Bishop , McGill) and even with a daycare center (Garderie NDG). Miel Mtl now has beehives in 31 locations across Greater Montreal and Quebec. Added to this are training, field visits to see how the hives work. Nick has even given talks in Texas, Arizona and Toronto, three places that have shown a desire to establish beehives on their territory.

Honey Mtl

#SaveTheBees

Honey Mtl beekeeping

Honey Mtl bees

For Nick, since bees have literally saved his life, he himself wants to be able to give back in his community to improve people's health, to save bees and to protect the environment. “It's the perfect recipe: giving back to society and to the bees, while improving people's health,” Nick explains enthusiastically when he tells me about the time invested in his business project. Nick realized a dream by developing his business project and he feels pampered. He always has new projects in mind! He is currently coordinating, with a partner, the development of kombucha on tap in Fairmont hotels. Stay tuned, it could be very interesting! In addition, he is in talks with Signé Local so that the shop can host his own hive soon. To be continued !

Reviewed By Melanie

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