An abstract of the lecture and workshop presented at the Transnatural Symposium
12th of March 2011

- Human and Apian Foraging Network -
an exploration on behaviour and strategies of bees and men driven by the quest for urban edibles.

The ever raising population in cities, demands novel peak performance from urban environments. One expression is the appearance of urban agriculture, which is seen in the transformation of roofs, fences, walls, parking lots, roadsides and vacant spaces into productive fields. Urban agriculture is, at present, the fastest expanding element of agriculture, contributing to the reduction of the carbon footprint of urban societies.
Honeybees are essential actors in the production of food as well as guardians of floral biodiversity; they are gatherers and carriers of information. A wide variety of vegetables, fruits and grains and other edible and non-edible plants are pollinated by honeybees, making city bees urban cultivators. At the same time, bees are tightly linked to local traditions characterising the interface between culture and nature.

The herbologies and foraging network refers to different ways of exploring and knowing about plants and their extracts (as well as fungi and bee products), about wild and cultivated food, herbal medicine along with cultural traditions and related crafts. Practices of foraging and making use of herbological knowledge are understood as part of our intangible cultural heritage. However, the knowledge on edible wild plants and herbal medicine seems to be hidden in the outback - with the grandparents.
The foraging network suggests different ways of sharing and spreading this ancient knowledge within the contemporary context of online communities, open information-sharing and biological technologies.
These novel network and digital technologies allow people to upload and share information easily and instantly - via mobile phone - creating global communities of urban foragers and feeding into the knowledge data base.
Per contra and simultaneously, the electromagnetic fields required to support these techniques, supposedly impair flying corridors and habitats for the bees who are put under extreme stress by these waves.

See also:

Bee-o-Logical Housing
a hands-on workshop for *out of the box* bee-hive-design.

Honeybees in Europe are domesticated animals kept for the production of honey and to facilitate pollination. In general, bee-keepers use "modern" bee-hives – modular constructions of rectangular wooden boxes, with a frame system that makes handling of the bees and the harvesting of honey convenient and simple for the bee-keeper. However, if these bee-hives are fit for the bees has to be doubted. ..

This workshop gives you an insight into the rich and inspiring world of honeybees, their behaviour, sounds and architecture, their collective intelligence and social lifestyle and invites you to tinker and experiment with- bee-friendly hive designs.