There’s been many years where we have been in the trenches so to speak with regard to beekeeping. Mainly with regards to putting all our eggs in the organic beekeeping basket. There was a lot of learning and somehow there was still a faith that it was all meant to be and that our losses were just part of our process in getting us here. There’s a post-it above our kitchen sink that says, ‘You get there by knowing you are already there’.
For us, it has been a calling for leadership in natural beekeeping and the knowing that it felt like the right thing for us to do, and that it is our life’s destiny.
Early on in our practices we encountered the writings of Rudolf Steiner. Along with writings of current practicing beekeepers, Steiner’s writings compelled us to delve deeper into what it means to be the best beekeeper possible. We felt that the biodynamic tenets of foundationless un-interrupted brood nest and naturally reared queens are of particular importance to the essence of the hive-being. Likewise, many great beekeepers from the past like Edward Emile Warre’ and Lorenzo Langstroth had great skills of observation, and have influenced our thinking. Our design and development of the Natural-Nest* hive came out of a synergy between our desire to keep bees in accordance with biodynamic standards, the reading of historical writings, and an appreciation of modern beekeeping and its challenges.
We feel Natural-Nest* hives are the best space for bees to occupy in our climate and offers the most functionality to the beekeeper with regards to assisting the bees in their success.
It became clear early on, that to truly be part of shaping what sustainable beekeeping looks like here in the future, we would have to become a living example. It also became clear that to do the greatest work for the bees, we would have to work with great numbers of hives in hopes of having the largest influence possible on feral populations. We have embarked upon a operation wide selection process for hardy adaptive bees that are open-mated with the surrounding feral population in hopes of evolving a truly locally-adapted strain of bees with vigor and suitability for our region. The region where we are proud to reside is one of the most pristine and cleanest bee habitats on the west coast.
The Illinois River Valley, with its rural population, lack of industry, and lack of intensive agriculture, has kept it in pure state suitable to eco-beekeeping.