Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once upon a time ...

Once upon a time - not so very long ago - all farming was 'organic'. The soil was fed with manures and compost; pests were managed by multi-cropping and rotation; crops were grown according to their suitability for the local climate and soil type. Farming and food were the focus of seasonal celebrations, and haymaking brought everyone into the fields.

     In those days, the air was alive with multitudes of birds and insects, each with its ecological niche,  dependent on one another and ultimately on the living soil, full of bacteria, fungi and myriad creatures that silently maintained its fertility. Farmers knew that healthy soil was everything; neither plant nor beast could thrive without it.

     When mechanization made it possible to plough faster than a horse, farmers were encouraged to rip out hedges to make bigger fields. Instead of a few acres of a variety of crops, they began to grow hundreds of acres of the same crop, attracting insects and birds that found a monoculture of their favourite food irresistible. Chemical manufacturers found a new market for poisons that could be spread on the fields to kill these 'pests' and crop rotation fell out of fashion in favour of the 'modern' way: short-term fertility induced by drugs, turning farmers into junkies at the mercy of agri-chemical pushers.

     Now, there are many fewer farmers and almost none who knew farming before chemicals. They sit in air-conditioned tractors, high above the soil, heedless of the lack of life below. Or they sit in front of a screen, viewing satellite images of their land, looking for patches in need of yet more artificial fertilizer.

     Where there was  once a thriving community of worms, nematodes, beetles and countless other creatures, there is now a sterile wasteland incapable of supporting life. Soil has become merely a support medium for plants, which are utterly dependent on synthetic chemical inputs, supplied by the same companies that manufactured poison gas for the Nazis.

     Bees, once integrated into the farming economy and respected and nurtured for their pollination of orchard fruit and hedgerow, now struggle to survive among the systemically-toxic crop plants. Insecticides are now added to the plant's vascular system by means of seed coatings - like putting a nicotine patch on your arm - so every part of them is now poisonous to bees and any other creature that dares to nibble a root, a leaf, a stem, or drink its nectar or take its pollen.

     For the sake of glossy, out-of-season fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves year-round, we have put at risk the very survival of the species on which we - and the health of the planet - ultimately depend. If we continue to allow a handful of super-rich, trans-national corporations free rein to peddle their poisons, regardless of the devastation they cause, then we will be held as culpable as they when our grandchildren ask why we, knowing what was happening, sat back, watching TV, while their planet slowly died.

Phil Chandler


  1. Glad you posted this. Phil sounds a little dramatic, but what he's described is completely accurate.

    My grandfather used to have a farm, and when my dad was growing up, they did all those "organic" things that Phil writes about. By the time I was a kid, he was too old to farm it himself, so he leased most of the land to someone who grew soybeans and sprayed heavily. When I was little, you could go out to the fields and find tons of insects and worms. The soil was dark and rich. Fast forward 40 odd years, and you'd be lucky to find something alive in it. So sad.

    1. Hi Julie,
      I too am a dramatic person :) so I resonate well with Phil's way of delivering his thoughts.
      The fact is obvious; human life style as known today is greatly endangering life on this planet. So many life forms have already been wiped out from the face of this planet thanks to us pursuing the "american dream" life style.

      It seems as we have been become very much ignorant, greedy and lazy, and all this seems to create more fear, more uncertainty, more insecurity.
      The more we are insured by our system the more we seem to become insecure :)
      This happens when we get owned by things we believe are owned by us :)

      All we have is this body of ours, and even that is energy simply borrowed and will have to be given back to this universe :)

      My uncle was a self-sufficient homesteader all his life. I too remember how it was living on such a farm based on biodiversity of life :) happy times.

      We must understand that it is we who are making mono-crop agriculture possible because we want to live in cities and pursue our "dreams". Each time we go to a supermarket to buy food from mono-crop farmers we kill this planet a bit more.

      3% of population is feeding 97% of population which doesnt grow food. This is simple to figure out. We must strike a fine balance between food production and living a "modern life style". We need at least 25-30 % of population to grow food to be able to come to some sort of balance between the system we live in and self-reliance. One such small holder can feed 3-5 families easily if we re-learn to eat that which is in season and if we get it freshly delivered locally.

      Much food is being thrown away because of long distance transporting. Much more gets thrown away because out of date on the shelves, etc ...

      The question is this; are we brave enough to let go of our "american dream" and go back into dirt to live from our sweat? Can we do this for the benefit of all? Or are we simply choosing to remain ignorant and greedy, to remain selfish?

  2. Yes, I completely agree with you. Our current agricultural model is killing our planet -- and third world countries, which more advanced nations should be helping -- are dying at a faster rate a result of it.