Resources to Inspire and Support BIPOC Beekeepers

February 25, 2022

BIPOC_beekeeping

As Black History Month comes to an end, The Best Bees Company is making a commitment to further the discussion of the importance of increasing accessibility in beekeeping. Our team gathered a list of educational articles, videos, songs, and more to shed light on the incredible work of people of color in beekeeping, agriculture, and environmentalism. 

Is there a resource that you think should be added to this list? Send us your ideas to info@bestbees.com or on social media as we commit to updating these resources regularly! 

 

Look, Listen and Learn: You’re the Bee’s Knees (Season 2, Episode 3)


Look, Listen & Learn is an educational program that aims to inspire and advance early learning in young children of color. (Robin, a Best Bees beekeeper is in this one!)

 

Talking to a Black Woman Beekeeper About the American Ideal, by Wendy MacNaughton 

Illustration by Wendy MacNaughton 


There’s so much more to a hive than buzzing bees and harvesting honey. Colonies work together for the greater good and thrive off their community–kind of like us, too! This visual representation of the New York Times conversation with activist Mia Birdsong shows a greater understanding of how our own survival depends on connection, similar to bees in a hive.

 

African Beekeepers: Notes On Methods And Customs Relating To The Bee-Culture Of The Akamba Tribe In Kenya Colony. By J. K. R. Thorp. 

“The Mukamba bee-keeper is deeply attached to his bees and will talk to them and even pray to them. He respects their apparent intelligence and marvels at their industry. He knows how to look after them and how to control them; and when he is in a position to control them he is without fear.” – J. K. R. Thorp

The practice of beekeeping has been generating extra buzz over the past 10+ years, but did you know that beekeepers have been caring for bees around the world long before that? These notes from J.K.R. Thorp were written over the span of one year in the 1930s while the author was stationed in the Kitu District of Kenya. In this collection of notes, the author describes the detailed practice of beekeeping performed by Kenyans in the Akamba Tribe. 

 

Honey-collecting in prehistoric West Africa from 3500 years ago

Composite of Nok culture terracottas, which were used to harvest and store honey. Image Credit: Goethe University, Frankfurt

The golden, sweet liquid known as honey is a pantry staple in many households, but the benefits of collecting and harvesting honey date back long before our time! This article documents the importance of collecting honey by early farmers in West Africa around 3,500 years ago. 

 

Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation By Tammy Horn

Image Credit: The Lane Report

Honeybees have been ingrained in American history for hundreds of years, and this novel by beekeeper Tammy Horn offers a greater understanding of the impact that bees have on American culture. If you want to take a deep dive into the history of bees and how they’ve influenced our nation, this is the book for you.

 

“Rainforest” by Noname

This track by revolutionary artist, Noname, was released in 2021 and illustrates the tragedy of land extraction for profit. If you’re interested in learning more about environmentalism and the necessary steps we all need to take to protect the earth, this is a great resource to get you started and inspired.  

 

Black Lives Matter: Revisiting Charles Henry Turner’s experiments on honey bee color vision

Image Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica

When it comes to scientific accomplishments in the United States, the Black community has undoubtedly played a key role–even amidst racism that was and still is prevalent to this day. This issue from Science Direct tells the fascinating and inspiring story of Henry Turner, a Black scientist who published more than 70 papers–including one that focused on honeybee’s ability to visualize color. 

 

Radicalize the Hive by Angela Roell

Image Credit: They Keep Bees

This book, written by Angela Roell, is a series of stories from the field and resources for new and experienced beekeepers. Learn from the experiences of beekeepers who are women, femmes, and people of color while you start your own beekeeping journey! 

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