As Rural Swansea Action closes its doors, the Bee Forum had its last meeting chaired by Eironwy. The RSA have helped create a number of similar groups which have proven their worth in providing mutual support for their members. Groups that now run as independent organisations meeting regularly to exchange information, ideas and new markets for their products.
The aim of the Bee Forum is to bring together the producers and users of bee products to discuss the development of mutually advantageous arrangements. It was as a result of discussions at a previous Forum meeting that encouraged the Gower Honey Cooperative to make bulk purchases of Ambrosia feed and wax foundation which many local Beekeepers have benefited from.
Are there other developments that the group would wish to be involved with? These might include encouraging local craftspeople to use locally produced beeswax in their beauty products, polishes or mead. Grouping together to sell honey may also enable local Beekeepers to achieve a better price than going it alone.
Those who attended the forum agreed that there was a need to continue the meetings as it gives a chance for all beekeepers to have a say and to share your ideas with other people interested in bee related products.
At the meeting, Eironwy lead a discussion on the merits of sale or return and then opened the discussion to the floor on successes and problems encountered in selling honey and other products. David O’Carroll shared his experiences of selling honey to Health Food Stores and Community Shops.
Eironwy also outlined information about the Cywain Bee project. The aim of this project is to look at ways of increasing the volume of honey produced and processed in Wales.
The pilot project will focus on two areas:
1) the need to work with farmers and landowners to highlight the importance of creating landscape and habitats favorably for honey.
2) the need to provide a mentoring service for honey producers in order to increase the volume of honey produced.
As Rural Swansea Action closes its doors, the Bee Forum needs to make an important decision about its future and future meetings.