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Heading to the Capitol with Bees

On next Wednesday, January 22, Catskill Mountain Honey (home to the CSB) and I are headed to Albany with the NRDC's crackerjack pollinator team, and a boatload of members of the NRDC's Pollinator Task Force (of which I am a member) including the Sierra Club, Earth Justice, NOFA, Friends of the Earth, Audubon, Riverkeeper and Mountainkeeper, among others. NRDC and the Pollinator Task Force have been supporting and encouraging lawmakers to pass the Birds and the Bees Protection Act which would limit the use of neonicotinoids for agricultural and backyard uses in order to more closely study their impact on pollinator and human health. Neonics are seen as a main culprit in pollinator decline, an early indicator that is showing similar devastating signs on bird populations and is appearing in human testing by the CDC as well. So, it's serious stuff. And the NRDC thinks that NY is a good place to lead from. You know the old song... "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere..."

So, how did I get here, you ask? The CSB (Community Supported Bees), which is now 12 hives and over 60 shareholders strong, brought me here. Here's why: you joined the CSB to fortify the bee population, to develop best practices for beekeepers, to make the environment better for bees and for us... and of course to get some honey as a bonus. You joined. And I feel responsible to you and to the bees to do my best. So, instead of just kicking back and tending the bees and harvesting the honey and bottling it and distributing it to you, I do this too. I do it for you and for all that you do to support the bees. The CSB is more than 12 hives. It's more than honey. It's a community. And we do stuff to support each other -- you, me and over 1,000,000 bees... and 12 queens!

Last year, I joined NRDC's pollinator task force, I issued a petition, and I called and wrote to hundreds of Albany legislators. The task force convenes bi-weekly and discusses how to protect bees -- mostly by working to pass pollinator protections in NY (which can serve as a great national example). I do this for you, CSB. And I do my best to report back so that you can be the best, most informed bee supporter out there. Please, do talk it up at cocktail parties, at the dinner table... drone on. The bees need you.

Several months ago, Matthew Willey, an artist who was living in NC at the time and is on a mission to paint 50,000 bees, reached out to me with a suggestion that we collaborate. Somehow. Funny, I was already a fan. Fast forward a few months and I brought the crazy idea of Matthew and his project For the Good of the Hive to the Pollinator Task Force and NOW we are taking Matt and his paintbrushes to Albany. Matt will paint a giant mural on site and talk up how important it is that we act as one hive, like bees do. I do all of this for you, for bees... and, quite frankly, it's interesting and fun.

So, here's what you can do. Check out For the Good of the Hive (website and instagram). If you are so compelled, please donate to the mural that Matthew will be painting live at the Capitol next week. Follow my instagram posts and stories for live updates from the Capitol... and please share them widely! Find more information about what's happening and who you can call and write and when by staying in touch with Catskill Mountain Honey. Keep on keeping on with the CSB.

xoxo Farm Girl

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