Permaculture News

Bee informed

Issue-4-coverLRThe brand new issue of Australia’s only printed Permaculture journal Pip magazine is out. Pip #4 is packed with articles on soil, perennials, the art of free travel, a permaculture diet, sharing permaculture with your children, earth bag building and more.
Its feature is, as you may have already guessed, bees. Humble bees. What is their plight, and can we do something to save them? The best backyard beehives? What about native bees? You will bee informed! As its new regular special feature, the magazine comes with the most comprehensive and updated directory to permaculture and related courses happening all around the country, and a new real estate section for those looking for permaculture property.
Our other favourite feature story in this issue is “Artist as family”. In this piece, Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman explain how twelve permaculture principles were applied while they went cycling with the family, all the way up the east coast to the top of the continent from their home in Daylesford. We are eagerly waiting to read their forthcoming book The art of free travel.
Product of a dedicated team of enthusiasts, spearheaded by the publishing editor, Robyn Rosenfeldt, Pip magazine was launched early last year. This new magazine has found its niche in a crowded sustainability (from gardening, farming, owner-building, energy, architecture) magazine market. It stands out because it has permaculture principles firmly set in spine, while its fellow shelf dwellers only hover around blindly. Its articles are informative and practical, and they are attractively laid out and designed in print format. Itself, an embodiment and expression of permaculture.
Previous posts about Pip:
Pip Ahoy
Pip #2
Pip #3
As for the plight of the bees, see Mitra film’s doco  Honeybee blues



2 thoughts on “Bee informed”

  1. Gidday folks. Keeping European honey bees is a sign that your permaculture garden is not in sink with good environmental practice and or does not have the biodiversity of species required to attract and host a healthy range of pollinators eg. native bees, butterflies, feral honey bees, ants, spiders, feather gliders and other nectar feeders. There are horror deaths of frogs, snakes, birds, gliders, etc. that are stung to death by invading swarms from beehives taking up residence in hollows and bird boxes all over the nation and very little is being done about it. Please become an advocate for the replacement of (your) European honey bees for native bees. The commercial E. honey bee industry and lobby group does not want this however steps must be taken to safeguard both the name of permaculture and the existence of native fauna (and flora species that the E. honey bee also destroys). There is plenty of honey to be had from native bees. The hives may not seem as productive but the pay off in the long term needs your reflection as we progress toward the most beneficial nexus we can afford between sound environmental practice, permaculture design and an exemplary example to the broader community. Do you agree?

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for sharing your thoughts – but we will have to agree to differ on this one.
      David Holmgren has long been an advocate of beekeeping as a resilient and productive addition to a permaculture system. His views on beekeeping are explained in his ‘Beekeeping for an energy descent future‘ essay.
      We do not believe that keeping bees is a sign that our ‘permaculture garden is not in sync with good environmental practice’, but rather that our bees add to the diversity – there are lots of native pollinators present in the Melliodora system as well as our honeybee hives.
      Honeybees not only provide pollination, they are also provide a valuable sweetener – a far more sustainable and healthy one than sugar! They are an extremely valuable part of our system. (As you mention, some native species of bees provide small amounts of honey, however these species are not native to Victoria and cannot be used for honey production down here).
      Although there is strong competition for hollows in trees, and honeybees are one of the species utilising this resource, honeybees are now a naturalised part of the Australian landscape with a large wild population above and beyond the hives maintained by beekeepers. Not only would it be almost impossible to rid the continent of these wild hives, it would also be a grave mistake. Commercial crops rely heavily on these wild populations, but even more critically, Australia has a wide diversity of honeybee genetics and our wild hives will provide the genetic resources for honeybee populations to rebound after a crisis such as the arrival of varroa mite in Australia.

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