Meet Jana Kinsman

Jana Kinsman founded Bike a Bee in the winter of 2012. The project places beehives in community gardens all over the city and are tended by bicycle. She is also an illustratordoodleboother, and tree enthusiast.




What do you know for sure? 

Some famous philosopher person said that the only thing they know for sure is that they know nothing. That’s how I feel. Embracing that uncertainty is one of the best things I ever learned how to do. I do my best and shine my brightest when I am making mistakes, learning, or reacting to a problem. When my world is turned upside down, I really learn a lot about what makes me human. Even when react poorly I can look at myself and learn from my own actions. 


What do you want to see more of? 

I want to see more people questioning their beliefs, especially the ones that they were raised to believe, or what the law says. Questioning media, questioning big companies, questioning money and it’s power. I know this all sounds really Adbusters. I don't want people posting angry blogs or yelling a lot on social media outlets, I want to see people representing their change in beliefs through their actions, and I want them to exist as role models for other humans and especially children. The times my mind has been changed the most is when I witness somebody doing something that challenged what I thought to be true. More of this, please. Push the envelope. Do it publicly.

Have you ever stolen anything? 

In high school I used to steal hair dye and make up. I thought buying something that was in a tube that you put on your body to change it was stupid. I felt like I shouldn’t have to pay for something that disposable. Stealing hair dye was my right as an anti-consumerist high school punk. These days as I crush the establishment even more effectively, I can’t even steal a tiny bag of washers from Home Depot (I tried the other week when I forgot my wallet but my conscience won).


Who do you admire? 

I have a list of Chicago Heroes in my head that has been growing for the past 10 years or so. Ed Marszewski of Lumpen and Public Media Institute fame, Ken Dunn of City Farm and the Resource Center, Michael Thompson of the Chicago Honey Co-op and Slow Food Chicago, Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes, Tony Beszylko of Bread and Beer, Katie and Molly from Patchwork Farms and many others. What most of these folks have in common is that they’ve done something in the city that makes it a great place to be. A lot of them have changed the urban landscape through farming or gardening… they’ve pushed the limits of what you can do in the city and they’ve given me reason to stay here, in this city, to make it everything I want it to be. Sometimes I think that I need to move to the country to do what I want to do, but everyone on the list has showed me that everything I want to do can be done here, unconventionally. Sometimes it’s going to be a battle, but here a lot more people are watching and ready to have their urban norms challenged.


What do you suck at? 

I suck at saying no, loving too much, and generally over-extending myself. It takes great effort for me to make time for myself and try to think selfishly. I want to say yes to so many things and give a lot of myself to people, which works in moderation for a Super Extrovert like me, but sometimes it becomes unhealthy. I’m trying to find better balance so I don’t get overwhelmed.


Want more? Tweet with Jana or learn about her all-women collaborative group Quite Strong.

(Photo credit: Brent Knepper)