In the state of Virginia for some days, our road crossed one more aspect of bio-dynamic farming. Bee-keeping is a vital branch of the close organism we are looking for on a farm. We tend to forget about these little insects which
endlessly work from dawn till dusk with a sense of community and mutual support never seen anywhere else in nature. I want to stress here how important the bees are in nature. They are essentials to us.
We didn’t know until the last minute if we were going to meet up with Gunther Hauk, a bio-dynamic bee-keeper and co-founder of Spikenard farm, based originally in Illinois. At the beginning we couldn’t get an appointment with Gunther, being only for the last 6 months near Floyd in Virginia, he does have much to do to restart the farm in this part of the U.S.
With perseverance and a few more calls, we could at last arrange an appointment. We offered him some help in the garden, and while working, we could discuss more deeply about his involvement in Spikenard farm. So right after the Josephine Porter Institute, we stopped in this remote valley 12 miles east of Floyd, peaceful and so quiet, where the bees can have all the space they need to buzz around. Gunther has been practising bio-dynamic bee-keeping for the past thirty years and also has written a book: “Towards saving the honey bee”.
“Honeybees are so much more than pollinators or honey producers! They are part of the complex living organism of the earth and are integral to our development as human beings. For this reason, they were considered sacred
in ancient times and honey was part of the most ancient folklore and medicine. Nearly 90 years ago, the multifaceted genius, scholar, philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner spoke of the problems we would see from the industrial and mechanical approach to beekeeping that was starting to take hold. He warned that we might lose the honeybee by the end of the 20th century unless a deeper understanding gave rise to sustainable methods. We took a long time to really listen!
Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary was founded in the certainty and hope that there can be a better future for this insect. They are committed to
continuous research and collaboration with national and international organizations seeking new answers to the many questions the plight of the honeybee raises.
Their sanctuary aims to create an oasis of harmony, in which the human beings, plants, animals, and a biodynamically invigorated landscape create the necessary sheaths of protection, care and healing. Their focus is to respect the innate needs of the honeybee, and
develop practical beekeeping methods with that in mind. These are taught in workshops, lectures and articles. Through their work they seek to promote in young and old not only interest, joy and love, but also a new understanding and awareness for the importance of the honeybee. A newly awakened awe and reverence for all beings of nature in their amazing interconnectedness opens the door for the necessary healing impulse to gain strength, now and in generations to come.
The standards reflect the highest care for these special creatures. The management of breeding and maintenance of bio-diversity is a particular concern. Natural development of the comb, including in the brood area, strict guidelines about feeding for overwintering and in emergencies are also part of the Spikenard and bio-dynamic approach.”