For anyone who knows me well a 'planner' would not be first on the list of descriptive terms; 'tall' possibly but 'organised', 'forward thinking' and 'planner' probably not. But looking back over the year I feel that we could begin to think about next year a little earlier, especially in areas like Outreach, Hive building and Colony provision.
Now I'm a huge fan of TED (check out www.TED.com if you are unfamiliar) and I've just been hearing about Incredible Edible Todmorden and wondering how I might contribute to something similar. A quick glimpse of their website and the picture of a couple of beekeepers made me realise that I already perform an important community service and its down to others to take advantage of the pollinators I house if they wish to.
However, it got me thinking about how to spread this idea of volunteer community action on food production. Now I'm no marketeer so please add your ideas as comments below. There are the usual things like posters in windows, etc but also getting links to Dadbeep and Biobees.com on our local community websites. Maybe Facebook users (I'm not one) may be able to provide links and likes to community pages and walls. Are there local commercial businesses linked to the Eco theme that might be able to provide some notice board space or some other link to the bee friendly initiative, and then link to us or Biobees.com. Just some ideas to get us started. How about linking up with the local gardening and horticultural types and groups, maybe giving small presentations to WI clubs.
But then what could we then do to support this growing interest. Well, how about a hive building day. With a bit of negotiation I'm sure that one of us could be persuaded to host a session. With a little notice enough wood and pre-building could be done to make sure that each pre-registered participant could go home with a 4 foot Chandler for £50 - £60. Slap on a Barbie and who could ask for more.
But the usual problem is bees. We have been reliant on swarm collection and its only the efforts of a few who's work permits the mobility to go and collect when they can. Planning for splits needs to happen early, especially the manufacture of suitable mini-nuc boxes. We also need to understand how splitting works and how to motivate our surviving colonies to split so that we can provide bees to our new enthusiasts. I am definitely no expert at this and I for one will need to get a lot of research done before I feel confident in giving it a go for real.
So with all this in mind I'm thinking that next year will be starting early if we want to build on what we've begun. Is it just me wittering on? Comments and ideas please. Lots and lots of comments ......