The Bees March On


My name is Nathan Clarke, I started Mad Urban Bees in 2012. At the time I was one of the first commercial urban apiaries in the country. After 4 really good years of honey production, the weather took a turn for the worse. We have had unprecedented bad weather in Wisconsin this year. There were snows in April, heat waves in May, and 100-year floods in August. This weather has really affected the bees in a negative way. 

The first year I extracted 115 gallons of honey from about 30 hives. This year I’ve barely extracted 12 gallons from almost 60 hives. Last year was bad and this year a complete bust, I have no choice but to close Mad Urban Bees down.


So what is next? Mad Urban Bees is done in its current incarnation. I am hoping to keep part of if going with a different model focused on education and pollination rather than honey production. I still plan on teaching beekeeping classes in the spring. You all have shown me just how important pollinators are to our community, and I want to keep that going. I also know that am going to need help with any future ideas.

A number of people have recommended that I start this GoFundMe to help keep the lights on at my current production space in downtown Madison. I rent the space from Common Wealth Development, and they have been really great with everything that has been going on. These funds will help give me the time to figure out what is next for Mad Urban Bees without going further into debt.

I am looking to raise $3,775.
$3,300 will go to pay the rent for 6 months.
$475 will go to pay the utilities.

This business has been a labor of love. I have had an amazing 6 years running Mad Urban Bees, and I am so glad of what I helped create. I cannot being to count the ways that this has changed my life for the better, the ways it helped me grow. It’s been a pretty great adventure, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing community here in Madison. 


The response to the closing has been amazing. So many people have let me know how much they love Mad Urban Bees and how sad they are to see it go. Madison Magazine wrote a very nice article about the closing.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure and helping me find what's next.
Please share this page with your friends.

Nathan Clarke



  • Anonymous 
    • 100 $ 
    • 21 mos
  • Thomas Havighurst 
    • 100 $ 
    • 21 mos
  • Richard Bonomo 
    • 50 $ 
    • 21 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 315 $ 
    • 21 mos
  • Robin Schmoldt 
    • 25 $ 
    • 21 mos
See all


Nathan Clarke 
Madison, WI
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more