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IT TAKES A VILLAGE AFRICA CORPORATION's Fundraiser:

ITAVA Beekeeping and Honey Project

IT TAKES A VILLAGE AFRICA CORPORATION's Photo
IT TAKES A VILLAGE AFRICA CORPORATION's Photo

THE STORY:

Did you know every third bite of food you eat can be traced back to a pollinator? How much of our industrialized population survives because of them?

Our project aims to reestablish and demonstrate the importance of industriousness and hard-work ethics while simultaneously solving the problems of Colony Collapse Disorder and Africanized honeybee aggression. Both are the result of taking the easy road to profits in a food industry more concerned with market share than "good food".

Project Goals

Eliminate the occurrence of defensive bee attacks/incidents where Africanized genetics are prevalent. Africanized populations will tend to expand northward as average global temperatures rise. Active management of expanding feral populations by trained beekeepers will be increasingly necessary. Grow a network of small scale natural beekeepers in the Liberia, West Africa who are experienced in selecting docile strains of bees for propagation where Africanized populations are present. Relocalize the production of treatment-free honey among a trained consortium of small scale natural beekeepers. Create an example of sustainable family scale farming as an economic development strategy with beekeeping and honey production as one of the core elements.

Project Background

Beekeeping requires more awareness and observation due to the increased tendency of the bees to be defensive. A hive with a tendency to vigorously protect honey stores with a higher percentage of stings can make beekeeping painful and generally unpleasant. This (coupled with "colony collapse disorder" and easily accessible sweeteners thanks to our food policy) has decimated the number of beekeepers in the West African region in the past. We will collect wild swarms with varying degrees of defensive behavior. Through specific selection strategies and non-invasive queen breeding techniques, we will experience great success in making beekeeping in Liberia a rewarding experience at our home apiary. In addition, we never feed our bees to take a short cut to honey profits and it will result in strong hard working bees. Coupled with encouraging a natural comb (or small cell construction - what bees do naturally) pests and disease are managed effectively by a strong hive without resorting to wax-contaminating chemical-treatments. These two critical factors, along with isolating bees from sources of neonicotenoid classes of pesticides, are what make the small scale beekeeper successful, and why industrialized beekeeping is experiencing such great losses at this time. However, this requires more time and skill to accomplish. It is time to greatly expand our effort to pass on this knowledge to those willing to sacrifice and understand that there are very few shortcuts without serious long-term consequences. With your donation we will enter a stage requiring more efficiency to build hives, harvest, and package honey for markets in 2017 and beyond. Unless we can become more technologically efficient in how we move bees and honey we will not be able to focus on the education/training goals, or the documentation of the positive effects on the regional wild honeybee population, resulting from correct management by a community of beekeepers. Using permaculture concepts we will design everything to support other elements within the overall design. Although this project is centered on beekeeping, we also need to free up more time to dedicate towards education, by making other parts of our farm more efficient.

Project Strategy

Your generosity will at a minimum fund the following to be completed by June 2017:

  • Create spaces to house volunteers-in-training to learn the art of natural/recycled wax foundation creation, and natural raw honey production using low energy methods and solar energy.
  • Purchase wild hive relocation equipment to efficiently and quickly remove wild populations from occupied structures owned by people who do not wish to exterminate established colonies or swarms.
  • Partner with two pest control companies to offer live removal of wild honeybee populations in urban areas and public lands.
  • Outfit "honey truck" to be more efficient and display educational signs about our work.
  • Establish standards among beekeepers for queen selection where Africanized honeybee populations are present or scheduled to arrive.
  • Document breeding project history (including a demonstration video).
  • Reduce fear of "Africanized Killer Bees" as described by the media by holding meeting series with county health departments and community organizations through the public library system.
  • Hold two hands-on workshops in late late April 2017 and October 2017 that create awareness of natural beekeeping in arid climates where Africanized populations exist - in partnership with other well-known natural beekeepers.
  • Increase presence of natural beekeeping education at regional farmer's markets.

Conclusion

A new generation of beekeeping and farming is on its way, and we have been diligently working on creating cooperative models of beekeeping and honey production in a region that has very particular challenges and advantages. Our vision is to strengthen the health and genetics of honeybees at a regional level by recognizing that honeybees know best what they need.

Please help us reach our goal and donate!

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