A Year of Beekeeping in Bulgaria

After our prolonged blog silence – for which I apologize! – I decided to share with you chronological glimpses of what happened with our GA Local Initiative Program: Sofia, Bulgaria. Just as a reminder, our program revolves around an urban beekeeping project which I, Elena, and my friend Teo have been working on for over a year now.

At this time we have wrapped all summer and fall activities and are assessing the results and sustainability options. Our first and foremost achievement is the successful and legal installation of two Langstrot Ruth hives and one demonstration hive in the Physical Garden at the very very center of the city. We also managed to lead over So here’s how it all progressed.

February, 2013 – Brussels

We leave for Brussels! So, the funding we received for our project came from a contest for sustainable urban development ideas. The contest was conducted in many other European countries including the Czech Republic, Luthuania, Romania, Hungary, Poland. The winning teams were invited by CEE Bankwatch to present their ideas in support for changes in the structure of the EU funding mechanisms that would allow small citizen-lead projects to qualify.

People loved our project and we loved the dynamic and vibrant international community. Other projects included urban farms and community gardens, bike-recycling, and many more!

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The Buzz in Middleton

Cross-posted from Growing Food and Sustainability

This week Growing Food and Sustainability was fortunate enough to have Heather Swan give a talk on beekeeping during one of our training sessions. Heather informed us about behaviors and beekeeping practices as well as bee’s importance in agriculture as pollinators. She also gave insightful anecdotes about her own personal experience working with bees. When she was done we sampled some honey, such as the light and highly prized tupelo honey to the rich and molasses-like buckwheat honey.

Heather taught us many fun facts about honey bees:

-A healthy colony may contain as many as 60,000 worker bees.
-2,000,000 flowers must be visited to create a pound of honey.
-During the winter, bees will form a cluster in the center of the hive and vibrate to create heat. The center of the cluster may reach up to 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
-The military has used bees to locate explosives and illegal drugs because they have an extremely sensitive sense of smell.
-When bees are “swarming” in search of a new hive, they are in their least aggressive state.

Back in the garden:

We harvested our first cabbages and radishes. Plenty of rain and few weeds meant slightly less work in the garden itself. We have also been making kale pesto and screen printing T-shirts in preparation for our Harvest Festival on Saturday, August 11th.

A personal note:

I will be leaving Middleton this weekend and as such will not be continuing to work with GFS this summer. It was a pleasure to meet all of the hardworking participants with whom I grew, delivered, preserved, ate, composted and appreciated vegetables. This summer I got closer to my food, literally, thanks to GFS.

Sustain your Growing,

-Matthew