Photo: Lee Grant / Molongolo Group
Beekeeping is all about place. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we beekeep on today, and pay our respect to their Elders past and present. We also acknowledge our gratitude that we share this land today, our sorrow for some of the costs of that sharing, and our hope and belief that we can move to a place of equity, justice and partnership together.
Honey Fingers loves 'bee cultures'.
Bee culture is a term used to describe the special culture that exists between bees and humans. And promoting, exploring and experimenting with this idea – the intersection between bees and humanity; a celebration of our symbiosis – is what Honey Fingers is all about.
We are more than an urban beekeeping network.
We are a creative and dynamic project that explores the connections between farming, food, art, history, design and education; and we always revolve our work around bees. Honey Fingers is only three seasons old and is continually growing, and transforming, to suit the directions new friends, new projects and new ideas take it.
At the moment Honey Fingers is four things:
• a local, small batch, raw honey business
• a creative projects studio
• a writing and public engagement platform
• Sponsor of the Honey Fingers Collective – a network of beekeepers who each have a discipline that cross-pollinates with other collective members, natural beekeeping practices and public engagement. We are writers, ceramicists, painters, chefs, technologists, public programmers, architects, publishers, photographers, carpenters, communicators, florists, sculptors, farmers and designers. More on the Collective very soon.
10,000 or so years ago, on the walls of the Araña Caves, in the region now known as Bicorp (near Valencia, Spain), an artist painted the first known representation of a honey hunter. It’s an evocative image – long and slender and simple. A rope ladder, perhaps eight times the height of the human figures represented on it, hangs from what we assume is a cliff face. The ladder is rendered by three parallel lines snaking upward. A third of the way up this ladder a human figure – with what appears to be a small pack on its back - looks up at another figure atop the ladder. The top figure, our honey hunter, has one hand holding a basket, the other arm is thrust into a dark oval mass - honeycomb. The bee colony appears to be sheltered in a recessed nook on the cliff face. Fourteen oversized depictions of bees swarm around the robber.
For those that have seen contemporary images of the famous honey hunters of Nepal it is a both a familiar and archetypal scene. To this day these Nepalese honey hunters scale cliffs on rope ladders to rob honeycomb from the world’s largest species of social honey bee, the Himalayan honey bee (Apis dorsata laborious).
The reptile in our brain has a template of this memory – we collected fruits and seeds and roots and vegetables. We hunted meat when we could. We trapped fish in simple nets. And we robbed honey.
We’ve always robbed honey.