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My limited and skewed thoughts and knowledge about bees made a dramatic about turn this week when a friend asked if I wanted to go to a fundraising event at a local theatre. After a glance at the poster for the event I said sure. I admit I knew very little about the event like what the funds were being raised for? I did know however that it had something to do with gardens and bees and more importantly that there were to be nibbles and take-home goody bags. That was enough for me. Apparently I was not the only one who was shallow enough and food obsessed enough to be drawn to the event on those facts alone. Several of us in line spent the time waiting for the doors to open huddled over someone’s iphone trying to discover what we were waiting for.

We were not disappointed. We sampled a variety of snacks that involved honey in some fashion including blueberry wine, honey ice wine, fruit bread and lemon honey spread.

The event was put on by two local organizations that promote moving back to a sustainable food system. I have included brief descriptions of what they stand for that I pulled from their websites:

FarmFolk CityFolk

“is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Our projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food.”

The World in a Garden

is a multicultural urban agriculture project that educates community and youth on the nutritional, cultural, social and environmental benefits of a just and local food system.”

We also watched a fascinating and informative award winning movie: Queen of the Sun: What are bees telling us?  If you are interested you could visit their site to learn more about the movie and bees too.  www.queenofthesun.com

I wanted to share some of the things that I took away from the event:

Honey bees are good and important to the survival of humans and have been since the beginning of time

Honey bees are the only insect that makes food for humans

Honey bees were revered in times past

Honey bees are being destroyed by the choices and greed of humans

home for happy bees

Honey bees work in a community and for the good of the community not as isolated individual bees

Honey bees cannot survive on their own, they need the colony/community to survive

Honey bees support each other

pretty poppies

The Queen Bee lives in the hive, and lays eggs

Worker bees are female, they collect nectar, tend the baby bees and generally do most of the work in the hive

Drones are male, they stay in the hive, mate with the Queen and have no stingers

good greens

Honey bees pollinate fruits and vegetables:  apples and blueberries are especially reliant on bees

Without bees our food crops (fruits, nuts, vegetables) cannot survive

garden delight

Honey bees collect nectar from flowers, process it in one of their two stomachs and then deposit it into the honeycomb, fan it to remove moisture and it becomes honey

Honey bees work hard to make honey (each bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime)

Honey helps your energy level, boosts your immune system and has anti-cancer properties

The healing properties of honey are amazing

Honey found in tombs in Egypt was still edible, wow and no preservative chemicals!

bee in the garden

The choices and greed of business are killing the bees

These choices are threatening our food supply

The use of pesticides, GMOs, and monoculture are the choices based on greed that are killing the bees

Pesticides harm the physiology of the bees and their ability to do what they are on the planet to do

GMOs also harm the bees and of course us as well

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the term that has been applied to the harm being done to bees.

In CCD the majority or all the bees in a hive (or many hives) are dead or gone, NO community NO pollination NO honey NO bees

real food

Monoculture is killing the bees

Almond crops in California for example are killing the bees

With only one crop for miles on end there is not enough for the bees to eat to be able to survive so they cannot pollinate the almond trees

So bees are trucked in from places across the US for three weeks to pollinate and then trucked back

Millions of bees die in the process (hives are stacked and sealed in plastic wrap)

The very process that the bees use to support food production and the making of honey is completely screwed up

Who thought up this idea?

community garden green

Many people around the world are trying to save the bees

We can all help

Support local organic food production

Get involved in organizations and activities that help to bring some sanity to our food production

Grow your own food

Support community gardens

Make your garden bee friendly

Hug a bee

Send your love to the honey bees

beauty all round

Irene McDermott © 2011