Bee Our Guest: Hosting Honeybees Essential to Building our Local Food System

After seeing success this past year with our first honeybee hive, which our Food Sovereignty Initiative has been hosting through The Honeybee Conservancy, we’ve decided to expand our honeybee capacity with more hives in this spring. We are even going to try out a relatively new beekeeping method that was created to be less stressful for the bees during the honey collection, called the Flow Hive. This variety of hive allows for honey to be poured directly from the hive with minimal disruption to the bees (you can read more about its design here). Keeping our bees happy means keeping our gardens healthy.

"The gardens at TVCDC are reliant on bees to make sure our plants become pollinated,” says Food Sovereignty Initiative Assistant, Ernest Weston. “We need the bees to help produce our fruits and vegetables. 

We had the opportunity to showcase our hardworking honeybees during our very first “Open Farm” event, which was coupled with our monthly “Open House.” At this event, attendees could take tours of our nearly finished poultry house and geothermal greenhouse, see our current group of egg-laying hens, get a raised bed garden box to take home, or simply spend time learning about composting, gardening, and of course, beekeeping. The Open Farm was really an opportunity to show how all our different Food Sovereignty Initiative projects work together to create a scalable food system. And bees are an essential component of that system.

Providing our bees with even more garden space this year will help them continue to thrive as we add in more hives. Adding hives is a natural way to strengthen the capacity of our gardens and increase our ability to cultivate a robust food system here on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Each year bee populations worldwide are facing a massive decrease in numbers, with many species of bee ending up on endangered species lists. We want to do our part to help bees thrive by providing them with a wide range of pesticide free plants for them to enjoy, including traditional plants such as chokecherries and buffalo.

"As a tribal community we should be very concerned about bees and their role in pollinating our traditional foods and medicines," says Food Sovereignty Initiative Assistant, Ernest Weston. “Bees pollinate one-third of the total food that is grown in the world, so as we work to re-create, re-define, and re-establish our own tribal food system on the reservation, bees are a vital part of that process.”

Our next Open Farm will be on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Find out more

Who to Contact

Ernest Weston