Hello from the 100 Acre Wood, also known as the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England. Unexpectedly, it’s been quite sunny and nice out but it is most definitely fall. The leaves are beginning to change and the grapevines are the most beautiful shade of red. Things are starting to slow down and prepare for a winter rest.
You might wonder what I am doing here or why I am writing about it because it has nothing to do with bees or honey. No, I am not just writing to talk about the English countryside and the romance of it all. I have come here to a tiny village called Forest Row to study something very relevant and important to honeybees. For the next 18 months I am being trained in biodynamic horticulture at one of my new favorite spots on the globe: the biodynamic agriculture college
A few years ago when I started getting into bees I was exposed to the world of plants. Anyone who keeps bees quickly learns what good bee food is as the season progresses. Many people think that bees will visit any flower but this is far from the truth. Just like people, bees are attracted and prefer certain foods. They, too, cannot live off just one or two things. They know what they need and what is most nutritious. As Beekeepers, we must make certain that we surround our bees with a variety of nourishment. In support of healthy bees, I started learning more plants honeybees frequent and planting them.
In the process of learning what bees like and planting for them, I starting planting for me too. My first year was a wild one! I got a little crazy with all the planting and failed at thinning as it all grew in. Going to pick a squash or cucumber was like venturing into the wild unknown. Either way, it was great to watch everything grow and even better to eat! After learning the potential of growing veggies I decided next year I would actually plan it so I could avoid the store and only eat from the garden. 2011 was the tastiest summer of my life.
The difference between fresh, local food and stuff that comes from a great distance, genetically manipulated or ripened in a warehouse is immense. Our food system is beyond backwards and won’t last. Agribusiness is such bullshit – what happened to the culture part in agriculture? Sustainable doesn’t come in a bottle, bag or laboratory; it comes from the methods and practices that got us here over the past thousands of years. I encourage you to think about where your food comes from and how it came to be. If you don’t know, you probably wouldn’t want to.
I will leave you at that story. My goal here is not to complain about today’s problems but to give you an idea of why I am studying a sustainable form of agriculture, how it sparked my interest and how I hope to change the world. I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful fall and getting your fix of squash!
Also, did you know what over half of the money you spend on our all natural lotions, lip balms and beeswax candles supports my education? :) thank you all!