by Krista Lee
This past weekend 15 students were a part of the beekeeping intensive at Green Mountain College. Andrew Munkres who is a bee-keeper from Middlebury Vermont taught the intensive and helped educate 15 students about the ins and outs of beekeeping in one information-packed weekend. His Treatment-Free Beekeeping Operation “Lemonfair Honeyworks” is located in Cornwall, Vermont where they produce raw honey & comb honey from bees that have not been treated with any miticides, antibiotics, or other medications. Their honey is available for sale at the Middlebury Farmer’s Market, the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Operative, Burlington City Market, and Champlain Orchards’ farm stand. Check out more about Andrew’s bee operation at his website https://lemonfairhoneyworks.wordpress.com/
The class was given hands on experience on how to operate a successful and sustainable bee-keeping operation. We built beehives and worked in the REED studio to build the structures, and then finished working on the structures in the farmhouse on campus. It was the perfect balance between hands-on learning and learning in the classroom and we were educated in a comprehensive way and will continue the class for a weekend in April where we can get experience working with bees when it gets warmer. We watched the documentary “More Than Honey” and it was very eye-opening and we followed it by a discussion in the class. After building and learning about what it means to run a bee-keeping operation Andrew taught us how to look up the costs of all the material we would need to start two hives and we looked through bee-keeping magazines and priced everything out. This helped students work to understand the actual cost of starting this hobby in our futures, and most people in the class said that they were taking the class because they were interested in having bees and hives in their backyards in years following graduation.
The weekend intensive ended with the students in the class being able to harvest honey and take home raw honey.