Spring talks: Swarming, Natural Bee-guardianship and the ecosystem

Bees have led us to meet inspiring people and projects, meetings that often have developed into mutual explorations and collaboration. This spring, we had the chance to deepen our connection to two such inspiring projects: Bodega & Almazara ecológica Sancha Perez in Conil de la Frontera, and Huerta De Los Almendros in Medina Sidonia, where we were invited to present the work of Apijanda and Bee Time, as part of a series of awareness building campaigns supported by !No Hay Planeta B!

Sancha Perez, an organic bodega and almazara (winery and olive press) is situated between Conil and Vejer de la Frontera, nestled in the folds of a landscape mainely stripped off its wildlife in favor of many miles of ploughed fields. The bodega, a family business, is like an island of biodiversity in the midst of the monoculture stretches. Among the olive trees and vines there are many native plants (lavender, myrtle, rosemary, mastic, palmetto, laurel, thyme …), which the owners say are “companions of the crops of the estate that will naturally attract local wildlife which is very beneficial for organic agriculture for their role in pollination, predatory or parasitoid functions.” The owner has planted a local variety of grapes, recuperating a tradition of Tinillla in Conil and its surroundings. It was a perfect place to give a public talk, over the Easter holidays, about the importance of pesticide free habitat for the pollinators, and the work our learning community is doing to safeguard the lives of honeybee colonies in the midst of exploitative agriculture and apiculture that is rife in this area.

A fine discussion arose after the talk, allowing Apijanda members to further explain their motives and aspirations regarding bee guardianship practices, as well as informing the public what to do when they find a swarm. The educational leaflets we prepared about swarms were given out. You can download a copy here.

Two weeks later we were invited to Huerta de los Almendros, a permaculture project in Medina Sidonia, where Kerry and Sacha Bernal Coates, have been creating a local hub to diffuse permaculture values. They had invited local beekeepers to explore questions around natural beekeeping practices. The talk was well received and led to a dynamic conversation about what can be done to pressurize local councils to stop spraying the roadsides and leave more areas of wildflowers for the insects. All expressed concern at the noticeable changes perceived in the countryside, with less bird song, and less insects every year. And we’ve all agreed on the complexity of the problem that endangers our ecosystem and the need for urgent and coherent actions by all its members.

Our next talk will take place in the 7th anniversary of the RAC (Red Agroecológica de Cadiz) Ecomercado de los Toruños , saturday 7th July 2019. Contact us if you wish to invite us to give this talk in your town.

These activities are part of the programme to raise awareness and promote natural beekeeping as a cooperating agent in ecological restoration models: ART FOR CHANGE, within the framework of the European Project There is no PLANET B! run in Spain by the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI) and financed by the European Union through the DEAR Programme.


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