An Unexpected Meeting...
Although immersed within a full-time holistic wellness practice here in Chicago, I began to feel like there was something missing in my life and in my work. It was not long after this that the honeybees, quite unexpectedly, appeared in my life. Honeybees began to show up everywhere, and they came to me in so many different ways...honeybees even started coming into my dreams.
Curious, I began to explore the world of the honeybees and beekeeping, and an exciting admiration, appreciation, and love for the bees began to grow. After starting my first rooftop apiary and studying alongside master beekeepers in Oregon and Virginia, it became clear that working with these miraculous creatures was the direction my life was going to take.
The Need for Natural and Sustainable Beekeeping
The more deeply I got into the world of the bees, the more painfully clear it became that widespread pesticide use, loss of natural habitat, shortsighted, commercialized beekeeping practices, and other factors have progressively weakened the health of honeybees and pollinators worldwide.
This is such an important issue, because honeybees and pollinators are vital to the health of our ecosystem, and to threaten their survival also threatens the survival of this entire interconnected web of life that we are all a part of. It's clear that the bees need our help, and that a more sustainable approach to beekeeping and pollinator care is necessary for their immediate recovery as well as their long-term wellbeing.
At it's heart, sustainable beekeeping is about minimizing human intervention, honoring the instinctual wisdom and behavior of the bees, and always putting the health of the colony before our own needs as beekeepers. This is true sustainability!
Inspirations and Goals
Rivendell Apiaries was born from my inspiration to work with the honeybees more naturally and sustainably, to be an advocate for pollinator wellness, and to create a natural beekeeping resource and community in the city of Chicago and the Midwest.
In the spring of 2015, my goal is to handmake and install at least 12 hives in backyards, gardens, rooftops, community gardens, and empty lots throughout the city and surrounding communities. In addition to the purest raw honey and beeswax products, I will also be offering pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds, my own handmade beehives, beekeeping workshops, educational programs, and starter colonies to help others get started keeping honeybees naturally as well.
A longer-term goal of mine is to create and maintain a honeybee sanctuary and pollinator garden within the city, and to work with the city of Chicago and private landowners to revitalize empty lots and otherwise neglected spaces with pollinator-friendly wildflowers.
With your Help...
$4,000 will cover the cost of all the tools & materials needed to build and maintain 12 hives, a manual (cold-press) honey extractor, bottling the first honey harvest, beeswax candle making supplies, a stock of pollinator-friendly forage seeds, and, of course, the wonderful bees.
Any extra funding will go towards the making of more hives, more honeybees, more outreach and education, and more creative ways to grow this initiative and give back to the bees and pollinators for all the work they do.
Thank you for your support!
(Please remember that it takes at least a year before any honey and beeswax will be available! It takes time for a colony to establish itself and make enough extra honey and wax for us to harvest. We'll contact you as soon as your honey and/or candles are ready to ship)
Risks and challenges
I am a new beekeeper and still learning all there is to learn, and also learning how to adapt to each unique challenge as it arises. I am bound to make a few mistakes, but I am willing to admit and learn from my failures just as quickly as celebrate and repeat my successes.
And, of course, caring for honeybees will always be a somewhat risky endeavor - which is part of the fun! The health and vitality of each colony depends on many factors, some of which we, as beekeepers, have little or no control over. Our goal, then, is not to try to eliminate every possible threat, but to provide the most stress-free environment possible. Approaching beekeeping in this way strengthens a colony's vitality and it's resiliency to both external and internal conditions. This is what natural and sustainable beekeeping is all about!
Another challenge is continuing to educate of the public about the importance of honeybees and pollinator health. Unfortunately for honeybees, stinging insects of any kind are usually considered pests, and best disposed of as quickly as possible. Helping people understand that honeybees and most pollinators are actually quite docile and vital to the health of our ecosystem is a major part of the work we will be doing.
All of these challenges, along with great inspirations and goals, are recognized a major source of our growth. I am looking forward to meeting them and making Rivendell Apiaries a thriving, sustainable initiative!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)