- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
She's the beekeeper/graduate student at Harvard's Graduate School of Design who traveled through almond orchards in California's Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in May 2014 to illustrate and pen a book about the spatial relationship between honey bees and almonds.
We wrote about her in a Feb. 11th Bug Squad blog.
The book, "Almond and the Bee," is now a reality. See http://blur.by/1CmYr3h. She's offering the book at cost ($9) and donating about $2 from the sale of each book to benefit the bees. The benefactor will be either the Xerces Society or Project Apis m.
Stephanie, a master of landscape architecture candidate who keeps bees on the rooftop of her school building, shared her marvelous 46-page digital story, http://almondandbee.com, with us earlier this year.
"I was inspired to create socially engaging and ecological performative places and hope to bring my passion for enhancing natural systems to the urban environment," she told us. "As a designer, I developed an interest in pollination during my second semester at the Harvard Graduate School of Design--I used the idea of pollination to attract people and pollinators to a park redesign, and developed a planting palette and a promenade that would do so."
Stephanie received a grant to finance her project. She spent a week in "almond country," meeting with experts at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, the Almond Board, the Blue Diamond Cooperative, beekeepers, almond growers, and almond growers/beekeepers.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, was among those who sat down with her and talked almonds and bees. He filled her on his research and offered tips on people to meet and places to see.
"The shape of the project developed during my fall 2014 semester," she related. "I thought an illustrated story would allow me to combine my photographs, maps, and drawings, with found historical images in an engaging and accessible form...The story is about how that came to be, but it's also an argument for holistic thinking in agriculture that could be both cultural and economically significant."
Two key sentences on the first page of http://almondandbee.com beckon the reader: "The almond and the bee. The spatial relationship of the orchard, bee, and dwelling through time."
Almonds and bees need each other, she points out. California has more than 900,000 acres of almonds, and each acre requires two colonies for pollination. And every year some 1.6 million colonies, or approximately 60 percent of the nation's colonies, are trucked to California.
"The relationship between almond growers and migratory beekeepers are in many ways analogous to that of the fruit tree and the bee—one is sedentary and one is mobile, but both depend on one another," Stephanie writes.
In her book, she traces the modern history of the honey bee, touches on traditional beekeeping methods, mentions the invention of the Langsroth hive in 1851, and takes a peek at the future of beekeeping and almond orchards.
In February 2015 we described it as "an informative, creative and well-designed (digital) story." Now it's March 2015 and it's 'an informative, creative and well-designed book," with proceeds aimed at helping our troubled honey bees.
Well done, Stephanie!