HRS177|Spring2015

Saving the world, one type of honey at a time!

 This week was all about bees. I have to admit, before this class and the lecture, I did not realize or think how important bees are to society. I actually feel uncomfortable around them, thinking as a child that they would sting me at every opportunity they get. I remember panicking as a child in elementary school whenever a bee would land on me as I was playing outside, waiting for it to leave just because I was afraid of its sting, unaware most of the time that it is usually a last resort for the bee.

All About Bees!

We were also able to try some of Jason's delicious honey! My favorite was the orange honey and a close second was the clover. Jason mentioned that only certain types of honey have medicinal benefits, such as the Manuka honey. This was news to me, because I thought any raw form of honey would have health benefits. This makes me wonder whether my mother has been scammed at farmers markets all along! My mother would pay $20+ for a jar of honey, because the sellers would say that their honey builds up strong immune systems. I did my own research and found this helpful site, which describes multiple types of honey and its different health benefits! For example, clover honey promotes wound healing and regulates blood pressure, orange blossom honey have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, and avocado honey is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. (http://www.curejoy.com/content/know-your-honey-different-types-of-honey-and-their-health-benefits/#2)

  

(photo credit: me)

Bees and Art

My first reaction to our presenter's talk was "how is beekeeping art?" But thinking about it further, I realized that beekeeping itself is an art. The way that he talked about how you would have to brush them gently like their sunflower seeds, smoke them to relax them, etc., is all part of this artform. But, this artform is also based on science.

Fermentation: From Sauerkraut to Ketchup

Today's EcoArt OS Food Fermentation workshop made me realize that many foods we see regularly are actually made through fermentation. For example, yogurt is a more well-known fermented food, produced through the fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria. I often make Vietnamese yogurt at home, which tastes very similar to regular yogurt but has a sweet and tart taste to it. The process of making it is also quite similar and simple. First, boiling water is mixed with condensed milk, while a previously made plain yogurt is mixed with regular milk.

Bees and their Decline

Last Thursday’s class was beyond what I had expected. I never thought I would be so eager to learn about bees and honey.  And don't get me started with the delicious honey we had to taste… it was such a great learning experience and such a great way to learn how to appreciate a tiny, but impactful insect.

Fight of the Bumblebee

After Jason Fahrion’s lecture on bees, I couldn’t stop thinking of all the ways that bees have been integrated into our culture. The birds and the bees. Mind your own bee’s wax. The Queen Bee. Sweeter than honey. There’s even a 50’s themed diner near my hometown called “The Busy Bee Café”. Although bees have yet to take over our towns as they did in The Swarm (which is extremely unlikely), they certainly have made an impact in our lives.

ethics of beekeeping

I recently made the transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet and have been pleasantly surprised with how (relatively) easy the change was. That is, with one exception: honey. I would consider honey one of my favorite foods and while I only mildly miss eggs and dairy, honey is something that I can’t imagine saying goodbye to.

Bee Protection

The integral nature of bees in our daily lives, demonstrated by “Breakfast without Bees” among others, affirms the delicacy and interconnectedness of nature. My admiration for these tiny yet indispensible creatures was enhanced by Jason Fahrion’s presentation. I did not realize how many facets of agriculture and food production rely on bees for pollination. Because colony collapse disorder continues to threaten the bee population at an alarming rate, current research is becoming ever more critical for their survival.

The Effect of Human Activities on Bees

Jason's bee workshop on Thursday certainly opened my eyes to a new world. Beforehand, the only things I really knew about bees were that they are pollinators, produce honey, and die after they sting. I never realized that they played such a large role in maintaining and providing us with the foods that we eat everyday. I was interested in researching more about how human activities affect the bee population.

Animals and Activism

After having learned of Thursday’s visitor (Jason Fahrion), I read “Bees Making Art: Insect Aesthetics and the Ecological Moment” by Mary Kosut & Lisa Jean Moore. This journal reminded me of the fact that bees have always been in human society and in the art world, but they were usually obscured or taken for granted in both realms.

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