Adopt-A-Hive (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at
Fri Jan 23 20:41:30 EST 1998

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 18:27:05 -0500
From: woodyw at
To: CSA-L at
Subject: Adopt-A-Hive

To the List:

In response to a request, I'm submitting the following letter, reprinted
from the Biodynamic Honey Bee Symposium, Winter Solstice edition,
published  electronicaly by Jim Jensen of Georgia. 

I can picture other "Adopt-A..." projects appropriate for CSAs...milk
cows, chickens (for eggs)...what else?


Jim, I conceived the idea for a co-op bee project here at our CSA when,
last Spring, I made the following observations:
We are blessed by the presence of old hedgerows at the boundaries of the
property, with apple, cherry, and honey locust trees predominating.  The
hedgerows, I knew, would provide, in the Permaculture lexicon, edges,
habitat for many plant and animal species that would not be present if
the place were farmed fenceline-to-fenceline. The farm being new to me, I
greeted the blossoming of each species with much anticipation...followed
by much distress as I saw not a single honeybee working blossoms that I 
knew should be prime forage for them.  The heartbreaking, soul-deadening
conclusion I was forced to draw was that the entire area was bereft of
honeybees, domestic or wild.    That conclusion was reinforced later in
the year when few bees were to be seen working the buckwheat bloom, when
in my experience we should have seen and heard thousands of them.

Fortunately, a local commercial beekeeper moved 48 palleted hives to an
outyard three miles away in June, in time for reasonable if not ideal
pollination of our cucurbits...pure happenstance and nothing a grower
should depend upon.  I informed our CSA members of this dismal situation
via our newsletter and invited them to participate in a possible
solution:  I calculated that, for $275, a family could become
owner-proprietor of a colony of bees.  This sum would underwrite the
purchase of woodenware, bees, and foundation; if 10 families would agree
to hazard a total of $2,750, the CSA could also purchase a hand-cranked
extractor, enough bee suits to outfit a family and
the beekeeper, and other miscellaneous supplies.  In exchange, members
would be welcome--though not required--to help with the seasonal
manipulations of the colonies and with the extraction, and would receive
half the honey harvested.  The other half would be sold to
non-participating members to boost the CSA budget and finance a modest
expansion of the operation in ensuing years.  I made clear the risks
involved and the fact that little, if any, honey would be harvested in
first year.

Within a couple of months we had commitments from enough members to
finance a 10-colony bee project, a heartening example of the power of
economic cooperation and the burgeoning awareness  CSA members have of
agricultural/ecological issues and their willingness to underwrite

Woody Wodraska--Seeking Common Ground CSA
Honeoye Falls, NY          woodyw at
"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making
of a comfortable living from a small piece of land." -A. Lincoln

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