Bees Arrive at the SOIL Farm

Last Saturday, beekeepers arrived at the SOIL farm carrying two bee-laden hollowed-out logs on their shoulders, and it didn’t take them long to transfer the bees to the two wooden boxes constructed specially to house them and support honey production. That same afternoon SOIL friends and staff members clambered to be first in line to taste the pieces of extra honey comb oozing with rich, amber honey. Jean Claude and Job Etienne from SOIL’s agriculture team, sectioned off pieces to hand out to the curious crowd that had gathered around (at a safe distance from the busy humming coming from the back of our nursery). The honey they yielded was sweet, fresh, and delicate, tasting cleanly of the flowering Bayawonn, or Mesquite trees, that grow amply throughout the region.

After the free samples were passed out, SOIL sold the first half-gallon of harvested honey. Income from SOIL’s apiculture activities will be used to support our ongoing sustainable agriculture programs and provide a working example of a farm-based business opportunity. We’ll soon be adding beekeeping basics to our educational workshops so that area farmers can explore the financial (and delicious) benefits of apiculture.

Soap making workshop at the SOIL farm

The same day that the bees arrived, we also held a soap-making workshop with home-pressed coconut oil. A friend brought in her Dutch-made oil press, a basket of kokoye peyi or local coconuts, and the lye and tools necessary for cutting, mixing, and setting. We had 3 stations over which we divided our group of a mix of 20 staff and community members so that each person could get their hands dirty in each step of the process.

The oil-press and soap making process got the group members very excited about the health, beauty, and environmental benefits of home-made, all-natural products and about the potential business opportunities therein. It’s amazing how much can develop from a little shared knowledge!

Keep posted for more updates on our activities at the SOIL farm where the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and those bees are humming away.

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