Are you worried about bees?
Interested in becoming a beekeeper yourself?
Just tempted by our fabulous rewards?
If so then please support
A campaign to cultivate
What is the Generation Bee project?
Honeybees depend on us humans to survive since the varroa mite pest has made it impossible for wild colonies to survive.
Generation Bee is about both passing on the ability to care for bees and building up bee numbers by making hives more affordable for future beekeepers.
We believe that increasing the numbers of responsible beekeepers is essential to restore a sustainable bee population in the UK and thus protecting its ongoing food security.
With your generous support we aim to tackle the worrying decline of the bees by enabling new beekeepers through directly training young apprentices and by producing 50 affordable start-up hives for individuals and schools who are keen to keep their own bees but find the initial costs prohibitive.
What is the problem?
Both our ecosystems and much of our food production rely on insect pollination. However pollinator numbers are falling alarmingly including a 54% decline in UK Honeybee hives in the past 20 years.
There are things which everyone can do to help such as planting pollen rich flowers, buying more environmentally friendly food and, where possible, either keeping bees or supporting local beekeepers.
Who are we and why do we do this?
Luisa started keeping bees two years ago after meeting her mentor who made her aware of the Crisis of the Honeybee and the shortage of new people seriously committed to bees in these challenging times. She has received support and training and feels now is the time to start giving back by passing on her knowledge to other young beekeepers and producing affordable hives to combat the decline of honeybees in the UK.
Luisa quickly found some enthusiastic young people who were keen to learn beekeeping. However she realised that the cost of taking on volunteers (detailed below) are too much for her fledgling business.
Luckily her wanna-be apprentices were not easily discouraged and so Team Generation Bee was formed (Victoria, Mareike, Michael, Jessie and Louis) to create this campaign and raise the money to allow Luisa to train up new beekeepers and produce affordable hives.
Generation Bee is a project with social responsibility where everybody wins. Luisa will provide free training to her apprentices in return for their help and this extra help will enable her to produce affordable hives that she will sell at just above cost price.
Luisa’s apiary, which is called Golden Age Honey, consists on a network of small sites in Dumfries & Galloway, South West of Scotland. The headquarters are in Dumfries and the bees are along the Solway coastline and in the hills of Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and the Borders. In this part of the world arable farming is marginal, so bees mainly gather nectar from a variety of pesticide free flora such as trees, meadows and hedgerows.
What are the financial details?
Our trainees, Jessie and Louis will leave their homes in Glasgow and London and come to stay, one at a time, with Luisa for the beekeeping season to help with the apiary and be trained in beekeeping husbandry. The monthly cost of their room is £250 and food is £150, which for six months is a total of £2,400
Together they will work on the mature hives and generate 50 new colonies in the new affordable hives which will be sold for £225 to schools and beginners, significantly less that commercially available equivalent. The total cost for producing the hives and nurturing the new colonies will be £4,700.
The total amount required is £7,100, from which £2,100 will be funded by the sale of the hives and £5,000 from the Crowd-funding campaign.
Golden Age Honey is a young business with a lot of potential to develop, any extra profits from this campaign will be invested into the apiary, which Luisa hopes will become a centre for learning with many apprentices and potentially a museum.
What about the affordable hives?
We are aiming to have the colonies ready for collection in July however this is fairly flexible as Beekeeping is extremely weather dependent.
On a normal year the parent colonies will start to be prepared from May. The bee breeds are a mixture of black, carniolan and buckfast.
The queens will be naturally mated when weather permits. We will then nurture the baby colonies through the summer to make sure the new queen is laying and that they have reached the critical size required for surviving in winter.
The Generation Bee team will be contacting schools and beekeeping associations to offer the hives to those who can prove that they have the skills to take care of the colonies.
For individuals we will ask for a letter from the President of the local Beekeeping Association confirming that the individual has successfully passed their training. The schools will have to prove that a competent beekeeper has agreed to care for the hive; this could be from their staff, a parent or a local volunteer.
The colonies will come in a British National polystyrene hive which is suitable for the extreme weather we have in Scotland, and offers a warm and dry home to the colony. The hive will come with a floor, brood box, deep frames, crown board and roof. As the colony is young the beekeeper shouldn’t expect a honey crop until next year. This will delay further costs as the super and queen excluder can be acquired the following year.
Our fabulous rewards
Any donation you can afford will be very gratefully received and we hope that your will enjoy the rewards we are offering. The fabulous e-books have been created by members of the team to share with you their knowledge of cooking with honey, candle making and homemade beauty products. The honey will be harvested this summer by Luisa, Jessie and Luis, bringing a taste of Scottish countryside to your kitchen along with inspiration from the Gourmet Drone recipe e-book.
If you feel like treating yourself or a loved one to a wonderful day out or weekend away then come to Dumfries for our workshops weekend in April. Luisa and John Lockwood, her fellow beekeeper and candlemaker, will be giving fascinating, fun and informative workshops about beekeeping, beauty products and candlemaking and you will get to meet our trainees Jessie and Louis as well as other team members Mareike, Michael, and Victoria so they can thank your in person for your support of the project.
The workshops will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Dumfries on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of April. To ensure that the workshops are personal and the teaching very high quality we will be limiting the numbers to a maximum of 10 people per workshop.
We will provide beekeeping suits and gloves for the beekeeping workshop but recommend that you to wear long sleeves, jeans, country boots and tie up long hair.
Visiting Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway is renowned for the beauty of its mountain, forest and coastal landscapes, for its wildlife, gastronomy and traditions. There are also many alternative businesses, artisans and communities. There is more than enough to spend a whole month visiting the region.
You can reach Dumfries by car, by train via Dumfries or Lockerbie stations and by coach from all around the UK (Stagecoachbus & Megabus).
There are lots of nice places to stay in the region. If you are looking for something original and alternative check out the huts at Maibie forest, just around the corner from where the workshops will be held: http://www.mabiehousehotel.co.uk/folder-23-continental-camping-huts
When you are not at the workshops there are loads of great things to do in D&G, we leave you with Luisa’s favourites:
- Free wildlife related activities
- Local cultural activities
- A paradise for birdwatchers
- A big heart, the best cheese and organic produce
- My favourite coastal walk
- My favourite local forest
- My favourite ancient deciduous woodland further a field
- Farmers markets
- Tibetan Buddhist Centre - a little drive from home
- Walled gardens by New Abbey near my apiary
- Abbey cottage tea room with Vegetarian options and connoisseurs teas
- To see the rare Red Kite
- Robert Burns Centre
- A good restaurant
- The Coach & Horses, 66 White Sands, Dumfries - My favourite pub, real fire, nice people, jukebox. Dogs welcome.
- The Tam O'Shanter, 113-117 Queensbury Street, Dumfries. Local ‘Men’ pub open to everyone. Local folk musicians gather for a friendly jam every second Friday from 8 pm. Dogs welcome.
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