Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 26, 2013.

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All I am saying is: Give Bees a Chance. Support the apiary start-up costs and receive raw, local honey from the 2014 crop!

STRETCH GOAL ADDED

Everyone also please look at the third update of this project.  There I told the story of how I caught a bee swarm on the day this project topped 100% funding. Anyway, the stretch goal:

I want to raise and outplant a nursery of live-fencing plant species in 2014 AND I want to share technical beekeeping information with my peers in international development.

 I could use additional funds to properly care for my nursury pots and beds, and also to buy the books and ship them internationally

. When I last spoke with the Garden Council, we touched upon the benefits of having a living fence to

  •  1) reinforce the existing chain link barrier and better secure garden safety from browsers and vandalizers, and
  •  2) Increase the forage available to the community of pollinator species from the blooms of a living fence, especially in the late summer. 
 Which species you ask? Mainly Agave and Opuntia succulents, and also perhaps species of Acacia. I also have heard of examples of hedges of Mexican Limes. Here in the Golden State we are blessed by the ability to grow many plants.  I want to do it!

 When I was in the US Peace Corps, I had a agroforestry development project with USAID funding to bring a garden space to Wallalan, my host village. One of the key components of this space was outplanting a massive nursury of Agave sisalana that would grow into an impenetrable barrier from the browsing of cows and goats. The environment in West Africa is capable of destroying anything quicker than one thinks possible, even coated chainlink fence, so it is good to have a living, self repairing barrier. 

 Along with beekeeping, live fencing is a passion of mine.The environmental benefits conferred by living fences are well documented. I have already spent time collecting seeds this year for planting the fence next year.

I will also use kickstarter funds to share technical beekeeping information with my international development peers.  In America I found out about internationally reknowned Dr. Wyatt Mangum and his wisdoms regarding beekeeping.  I unfortunately missed out on his lecture when he traveled out from North Carolina to speak to the Marin Beekeepers Association--schedule conflicts with the marriage festivities of a longtime buddy of mine.

  But he wrote a book about keeping bees in Kenyan Top Bar hives, and he will tell you about it if you visit this website www.tbhsbywam.com .

I own a copy, it stokes up my passion for beekeeping.  It is amazing and full of pictures.  It is a great learning tool for generations of beekeepers to come.  I want to buy two more copies from Dr. Mangum and send them to the Peace Corps The Gambia headquarters in Fajara,  AND the BeeCause NGO in Lamin Village a.k.a. Koli Kunda.  These two institutions first introduced me to beekeeping and would benefit from these books.

Books cost $45 each plus some international shipping.  

 Please continue to Kickstart me so that I can achieve these two stretch goals of planting living fences and sharing information! Please consider increasing your pledge to the next reward bracket OR Share this campaign with your family and friends. GUYS, WE STILL HAVE A WEEK OF FUNDRAISING. 

This project is about making a uniquely sweet thing.

My goal is to establish a honeybee apiary of 10 colonies to the Hercules Community Garden in November-December of 2013.  With your help, we can let it bee.

Bringing a honeybee apiary to this garden is a sizeable project with great possible rewards for everyone involved.  Bees in the Hercules Community Garden will ensure better pollination for Hercules gardeners within two miles!  That is a great resource for anyone owning fruit trees or garden crops, or who has an interest in watching honeybees.

When I served in the Peace Corps ('11-'13), I learned firsthand of the strengths and flexibility groups of people have when they work together for a common gain based on a few ideas.   Bringing it back to California, I want to do another project, at home this time.  This project is for people, anybody, for Herculeans especially, who are interested in local honeybee populations.  Situated at the Hercules Community Garden, beekeeping can offer many broad benefits for our city.  

  It is plain that having a  bee yard in our city would mean more insect populations to visit and pollinate our flowers and foodscapes.  Perhaps also this apiary could provide open-air workshops or a conversation place for students or other groups who are interested in insect pollinators and/or gardening.  Wouldn't more community member interest at our garden be good too?  Teachers from Hercules High School, Hercules Middle School, and also the Principal of Ohlone Elementary school are interested in furthering opportunities offered to students.  Lastly, wouldn't it be great if another viable business joined into our local economy?  Let's put Hercules on the map as a bee-haven and a recognized place for breeding the best local, survivor beestock for our regional Bay Area  (along term goal)!  

Inspecting bees in spring 2013
Inspecting bees in spring 2013

The money will be used how?

I am raising money to cover the startup costs of this apiary, a first major step in establishing Hercules Bees.  To keep bees on city-owned land, the City of Hercules requires that I have a liability insurance policy, a ~$750 expense per year.  The biggest use of kickstarter funds, however, will be obtaining building materials for apiary and beehive construction.  Wood, tools, bee-yard fencing, transportation, consumable supplies unique to keeping bees, and kickstarter rewards...the foreseeable costs all add up, quickly.  I assemble and finish all beehives myself, using lots of my time to ensure quality construction.  When correctly built and waterproofed, beehives have a working life of 15+ years, which is a way to keep costs down. 

Langstroth-style hives that I will be using there.
Langstroth-style hives that I will be using there.

I will be using both Langstroth and top-bar beehive styles at the Community Garden.  The type of hive to husband these bees is of much less consequence than the beekeeper's philosophy for husbanding their bees.  I use synergistic and organic methods to keep and treat my bees.

If this Kickstarter campaign should achieve more pledges than required, additional funds will be directly converted into more beehives to house more bees to be placed in more places in Hercules.  It is my plan to increase my number of beehives from 10 in 2013, to around 40 in 2014.    Additionally Kickstarter and Amazon Payments will garnish up to 10% of the amount pledged.  Additional funds will help to establish Hercules Bees sooner and stronger, so please act generously.  If this is something that you want accomplished for our city, spend influence here!

Thank you so much for helping to bring honeybees to the Hercules Community Garden.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This is a farming venture and rainfall is the single most influential variable in predicting the volume of the nectar flow of the environment, and thus the size honey crop. These bees, however, will be situated in an suburban coastal California environment, an area which provides up to a 9 month forage season for our buzzing friends.

The main honey flow is made up of many smaller flows, each representing the blooms of individual species of plants. Thus honey production occurs as many smaller transactions, rather than as one giant lump. For this reason I may have to stagger the delivery of rewards for Project Backers in a half-now half-later type scheme if the 2014 honey crop should be poor.

Beekeeping is extremely seasonal work which starts at the end of winter and progresses through midsummer at an ever-increasing pace as colony sizes expand dramatically. The late fall and winter, when colony sizes are at their minimum and hive activity is low, then are best prime times of the year to build and maintain equipment.

Also, you may have heard the tales of woe from American Beekeepers in the news about the Colony Collape phenomenon. This is a real issue, a large cause of it being new pathways of disease and virus transmission by new parasites in honeybee ecology. The best thing to do for our bees is to rely on their immense genetic diversity to find stock able to survive in today's environmental circumstances. It is a challenging time, and a very exciting time to be a beekeeper.

Since coming back to USA in January, I have gone to work educating myself about the honeybee, Apis mellifera. It has been a lot of work. In the half year I have grown my hives to 10 in number and I have gained much wisdom. Educated by the wisdoms of beekeeper mentors from two different continents, and also by own observations I know that I am ready to take the next step to grow my hives

Kickstart me now so that I may have hive space for the required bees in 2014!

FAQ

  • The short answer: if you need me to ship you the reward, please raise your contribution to include the shipping cost (e.g. a $25 contribution seeking the reward and shipping needs to pledge $30 instead).

    The long answer: When I was setting up my kickstarter campaign I didn't understand how to add that button that adds the shipping cost to your contribution. I also thought that most donations would be from nearby people and that I could personally hand out rewards to my project backers. I am willing to deliver rewards to people that live within 20 miles of Hercules or within reasonable distance within the SF Bay Area. Now I see that many project backers live in far away places from smalltown Hercules! Please help me keep this project in the black by including the shipping costs in your contribution. If you have questions about your particular situation, please message me directly.

    Best Regards,
    Scott Jorgensen

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    34 backers

    A button or sticker of pro-bee propaganda, whichever one is cheaper and/or cooler for me to make and you to display. For all rewards, if I can give you the product in person, you won't need to pay shipping. Add $1 if shipping within the US

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $25 or more
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    70 backers

    8 oz (by weight) of strained raw, unfiltered honey from spring and/or summer of 2014 Add $5 if shipping within the US

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    34 backers

    1 pound of strained raw, unfiltered honey from the spring and/or summer of 2014 Add $7 if shipping within the US

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    4 backers

    2.5 pounds of strained raw, unfiltered honey from the spring and/or summer of 2014(5). As this is quite a lot of honey to produce for so many people during my second season of keeping bees in California, deliveries may be delivered in parts as honey is produced. Add $12 if shipping within the US

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    3 backers

    Your donations form the core of the Community Garden's bees and you are helping Hercules Bees to establish in the other neighborhoods of our city. 7 pounds of local, strained, raw liquid honey. Since this is such a large amount of honey, package may be broken into installments as future crops mature. Expect at least three pounds in the first year. Add $25 if shipping within the US

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Funding period

- (30 days)