Bees in the news!

Our press release has been very well received and, so far, Ellie and Gemma have featured on Radio Suffolk’s breakfast and drive time shows, had a great article in the EDP and done and interview for BBC Look East. We’re hoping the story will also be carried in this week’s Bungay and Beccles Journal and the East Anglian Daily Times next week.

Bungay Bees in the News

The purpose of the coverage is to fill the remaining places in the group and raise awareness about the plight of bees – a success on both counts if the emails we’ve had so far are anything to go by.

Bungay Community Bees – Press release

Recently bees have been disappearing in their millions, affecting not only the production of native honey in every country, but most importantly, the bees’ great task of pollinating the trees, fruit, vegetables and herbs that make up two-thirds of what we eat every day. In Bungay a new group has formed within Transition initiative, Sustainable Bungay, to help the threatened honey bee.
Bungay Community Bees is a Beekeeping Project which aims to manage hives in as sustainable a manner as possible. It will run as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme where members own ‘shares’ in the bees, hives and harvest, taking part in the beekeeping year. This allows members to support honey bees without being ‘hands on’ – though the group plan is to fund training and hives for up to two new beekeepers each year.

“We are not a commercial venture and honey production is viewed as a bonus rather than a prime motive for bee keeping. We aim to use two or three systems over the next few years until we find one that suits us and the bees best.”

In the first year Bungay Community Bees hopes to recruit at least 20 supporters to invest in two hives (National type) and colonies, insurance for two beekeepers, basic equipment and training for two new beekeepers with the Waveney Beekeepers Group. Benefits will include visits to the hives to learn more about beekeeping, an opportunity to have a hive in your garden and most exciting of all, attending a honey harvest. The share of honey and wax will increase as the hives grow in strength and number.

Bungay Community Bees is being organised by Elinor McDowall and Gemma Parker. Both Transition beekeepers learned their art with the Waveney Valley Beekeepers and already have two hives and fifteen members signed up for the project.

“We’re hoping to acquire our first bees via the Waveney Beekeepers Group” said Elinor. “These are likely to be a mongrel mix of Italian origin and native British bees. However, in future years we would like to try some more native bees which are smaller and darker and because they are well- adapted to this climate, may be more resilient in times of change.”

In Waveney, there has been a huge increase in beekeeping interest. Last November the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees was shown to a packed audience at Geldeston Village Hall and a great cheer went up in the audience as Suffolk Beekeepers were seen marching to Parliament with their petition to help save the endangered bee.

In response gardeners everywhere are starting to growing flowers for the bees in their gardens and windowsills and local and sustainably-harvested honey has become highly-sought after. But perhaps the most effective way everyone can help starts at the table.

Colonies are made vulnerable to disease (especially the varroa mite), by the widespread use of pesticides and lack of bio-diversity in single-crop farming, as well as the the stressful nature of commercial beekeeping.

By eating fruit and vegetables grown without chemicals on organic farms or in local allotments and gardens which support a strong diversity of wild and domestic plants we will be giving pollen and nectar to one of our greatest allies on earth.

If you want to start a bee-friendly garden this summer, why not come along to Sustainable Bungay’s Give and Grow Seedling Swap on Sunday May 2 at the Bungay Library Courtyard and meet the Bungay Community Beekeepers?

If you would like to join Bungay Community Bees contact info@sustainablebungay.com. Membership is £20 per annum. The Give and Grow Seedling Swap is on May 2, Bungay Library Courtyard, 11am-2pm.

Charlotte reviews Turning the Tide

Climate change had a high profile this winter thanks to the Copenhagen summit and many of the carbon reduction campaigns. such as 10:10. And though the world’s governments came to few real agreements and the media has focused on climate skepticism it’s clear, perhaps more than ever, that individuals and communities have a decisive role to play keeping the carbon levels in the atmosphere down.

To keep the conversation about climate change going and avoid “burn out” was the intent behind the play, Turning the Tide, which Sustainable Bungay hosted on April 11 at the Library. Set in a small rural community where very different characters come to terms with changing their lives to reduce carbon emissions, the play was energetically and imaginatively performed by four actors, wearing several hats, and challenged by The Joker who turned all their arguments upside down and made them agree that the best way to proceed would be to come together, face the music and dance.

The play didn’t just stop when the cast took their bow. This was a community event in which the director invited the audience to discuss the issues explored in the play. And that was the point when a local climate skeptic interrupted the proceedings and initiated a lively (if somewhat monopolised) debate about climate science in which the 25-strong audience voiced their feelings – mostly that we might not know all the scientific facts but we did feel it was up to all of us to work together to turn this obviously critical situation around.

The play ended its month-long in Bungay and the company felt it was a dynamic end to their tour of village halls and libraries throughout Suffolk (several hosted by other Transition initiatives). “The best discussion we had, “ pronounced Open Space’s founding director, David Green.

If you’d like to find out about any aspect of carbon reduction from using one of the Library monitors to taking part in our soon-to-be-launched carbon audit, do get in touch.

Turning the Tide – A Carbon Fantasy in One Act by Peppy Barlow at the Bungay Library was performed by the Open Space Theatre Co www.openspacetheatre.org.uk