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How hives improve lives

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

[caption id="attachment_14846" align="alignleft" width="263"]Jeremy Paxman, Martha Kearney and Adnams' Ben Orchard at the Bee Garden party Jeremy Paxman, Martha Kearney & Adnams' Ben Orchard at the Bee Garden Party at Lambeth Palace[/caption] The beautiful gardens of Lambeth Palace on the South Bank of the River Thames in London was the serene setting of a unique garden party celebrating the honey bee and the work of two inspirational charities. Hosted by Radio 4 presenter and beekeeper Martha Kearney, the Bee Garden Party on 1st July 2014 not only brought bee-lovers and supporters together but also showcased the valuable work undertaken by the charities Bees Abroad and Bees for Development. The Patrons for Bees Abroad include the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martha Kearney and Jimmy Doherty. Jimmy introduced Adnams to the two charities, and as sponsors Adnams supplied our House French White and Rosé wines for this special event.

Bees help alleviate poverty

[caption id="attachment_14847" align="alignright" width="190"]Bee Garden Party hosted by Martha Kearney Bee Garden Party hosted by Martha Kearney[/caption] Bees Abroad provides beekeeping skills to help alleviate poverty in developing countries. The charity supports non-Governmental and community-based groups to create economically viable and sustainable self-help programmes. Funds are raised to enable project managers to deliver the hands-on training required to design, run and build a successful beekeeping project using local materials. The aim is to enable families and communities to build up a business from harvesting the nutritious honey and creating beeswax-based products such as handmade soaps and lip-balm, to provide a sustainable income. The charity Bees for Development began work on sustainable beekeeping 21 years ago, articulating the reasons why beekeeping is such a useful tool for alleviating poverty while maintaining biodiversity. Bees for Development has worked in more than 50 countries worldwide, providing free expertise to beekeepers in remote and poor areas and offering support at both community and national levels. Emphasis is placed on using local materials and hive types as well as caring for indigenous bees - local bees have their own distinctive habitats, foraging preferences and behaviour. [caption id="attachment_14848" align="alignleft" width="300"]Guests at the Bee Garden Party Guests at the Bee Garden Party[/caption] Guests at the Garden Party were given the opportunity to try a range of honeys produced from a range of developing countries, including an amazing rainforest honey from Cameroon, and to learn more about beekeeping projects around the world. Much excitement and a fair bit of healthy competition was to be had at the end of the evening during the silent auction where bids were placed to secure one of many unique bee-related items kindly gifted by sponsors and supporters of the charities. Honey bees arrive at AdnamsAdnams now has two hives of honey bees at the Reydon Distribution Centre which are being cared for by local beekeeper Steve Barrett. For Adnams, looking after bees is an exercise in supporting our native honey bee and making the most of our bio-diverse grassland wildflower habitat at the former gravel pit site in Reydon. However, for many communities in developing countries, keeping bees is a way to relieve poverty - in some areas, the produce of a single hive is enough to send a child to school for a year. Beekeeping makes a real difference to people’s lives; it’s sustainable, practical, supports biodiversity and provides nutrition as well as money for families and communities. We’re incredibly proud to be able to support Bees Abroad and Bees for Development at this event. Photos of the Garden Party can be seen on Flickr.

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Sarah Groves

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