A grassroots beekeeping initiative in south Lebanon

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Pricing:Seasonal honey (large) - $20
Seasonal honey (small) - $10
Bee pollen - $10
Honeycomb - $25
Payments are collected as cash on delivery in USD or equivalent in LBP daily rate

About

Amidst the ongoing social and economic crises in Lebanon, ByBee, a grassroots initiative with the aim of supporting local beekeepers in south Lebanon, was established in 2021. The project began as a labor of love when my friend Mohamad - himself part of a mutual aid group of Palestinian beekeepers in the south - decided to train interested friends and family in beekeeping techniques, largely as a means for additional income. The idea soon grew into a fully-formed initiative centered around ideas of sustainability, mutual aid, environmentalism, and community collaboration. The early stages of ByBee saw 3 months of weekly trainings for Palestinian and Lebanese beekeepers in Tyre, Lebanon. Each week, a new expert came to educate beekeepers on different techniques, medicinal application, monitoring hive health, and other topics the beekeepers raised as relevant to their work. These trainings also included field trips to facilities across Lebanon, where beekeepers were able to get hands-on experience and training with beekeeping equipment unavailable in the south.At the end of the trainings, the beekeepers were provided with free beekeeping suits, smokers, and other materials for personal use. After the trainings, ByBee secured a plot of land to develop a space that could further serve beekeepers in south Lebanon. Over the course of a few months, we filled the space with high quality beekeeping equipment, planted trees, fruits, and vegetables [for the benefit of the bees and surrounding communities], and built a small office where beekeepers could meet, trade advice, and conduct their own future trainings. The space, including all machinery and resources, is 100% open and accessible to any beekeeper that wishes to come use it. Recently for example, beekeepers from the nearby village of Kharayeb came to use ByBee's wax press, a machine that allows beekeepers to make their own wax inserts for hive frames instead of buying new, costly ones. As the economic crisis in Lebanon has deepened, this kind of access has been crucial for southern beekeepers, many of whom can no longer afford the sky-high prices of beekeeping materials, almost all of which are imported into Lebanon and priced in USD rather than Lebanon's local currency (the Lebanese lira - LBP). Further, the availability of these machines has allowed beekeepers the opportunity to reuse and repurpose materials like wax that previously would've been discarded as waste. This is just one of the many ways ByBee has created options for sustainability in southern Lebanon - both in terms of beekeepers' opportunities for financial stability and self-sufficiency, as well as environmental and conservationist possibilities that benefit various communities and ecosystems across the south.

Support

ByBee and the community of Palestinian beekeepers spearheading this crucial initiative need our help. The economic crisis in Lebanon has continued for over two years now, and the initiative needs funds in order to continue covering basic operation costs. This is particularly important ahead of the spring and summer - the busy seasons for beekeeping - the former beginning in less than one month. In the upcoming months we anticipate an influx in beekeepers using the machines and facilities, and therefore an increase in basic operation costs. Monthly costs for the initiative already come to approximately $1100, which covers rent, fuel, electricity, water, medicine and food for the bees, chickens, and produce, maintenance and labor, internet, and other necessities. With that in mind, we aim to raise $10,000 by mid-April to cover costs for the initiative until the end of September [the end of summer’s honey harvest]. At that time, our goal is to launch other reliable and self-sufficient streams of income for the organization. So far ideas include a patronage system for sustainable donors and an on-site market where we'll sell honey, products from local beekeepers, and the organic produce harvested from the land.ByBee was established with the vision of developing beyond INGO backing to become an organization that is operated by and for neighboring communities. The initiative has become an important hub and source of support for beekeepers in the south. Myself, Mohamad, and others working with ByBee have endless ideas for strengthening the foundations and support systems that have been laid out thus far. Future plans include:

  • an online calendar [with important dates for harvesting, medicine treatment, feeding, etc.] that beekeepers can freely access & contribute to

  • downloadable resources for beekeepers

  • outreach to women in surrounding villages who are interesting in learning how to keep bees

  • expanding training opportunities to Palestinian and Syrian refugees who can benefit from beekeeping as a source of additional income

  • enhancing dialogue and collaboration between local farmers and beekeepers

  • conducting educational workshops for youth interested in learning about farming, bees, and environmentalism + so much more.

Perhaps the most practical project ByBee hopes to implement is providing unemployed youth with a free start-up hive, beekeeping equipment, and expert training. Because beekeeping requires low investment, these few simple resources can provide youth in Lebanon with opportunities for income streams that are stable, self-sufficient, and easy to develop into small businesses for supporting one's family. In today's Lebanon, where hyper-inflation, unemployment, and the cost of living are at an all-time high, such resources are crucial for the survival and success of every community. With your help, ByBee can continue and thrive as a sustainable, community-driven, and collaborative space in south Lebanon where all are welcome.

Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $10,000 by April 30th, 2022.
$1081 raised so far!