Topics: Agriculture

Free Bees: An Israeli Innovation to Save Our Planet

How is it that a small stinging insect could be responsible for most of the world’s abundance?

Free Bees: An Israeli Innovation to Save Our Planet
Yossi Aud/Red Bee Shield

Israel is creating what they call “free farms” for bees. Why in the world, you ask, would bees need to be free? Don’t they already fly wherever and whenever they want, back and forth from hive to the nectar fields? We have news for you – it’s not exactly like that.

The massive development of intensive agriculture around the world, which includes the reproduction and growing of the honeybee as a branch of the agricultural industry, has led to the manmade manipulation of bee cultivation. These influences have changed the genetics and natural characteristics of the bee.

In Israel, a movement of bee-lovers has developed in recent years, promoting beekeeping in a natural way in a biodynamic approach, which is a holistic, ecologically sound, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. The group of bee-carers, which already numbers in the thousands, have established a non-profit organization called “Red Bee Shield” taken from the name of Israel’s emergency services Magen David Adom (MDA) or the “Red Shield of David.” They are saving bees from insecticides and extermination and transferring them to “freedom farms” that have been established throughout Israel where they can live and thrive naturally.

Photo: Courtesy Yossi Aud/Red Bee Shield

These “freedom farms for bees” are on lands the government has allotted for the project. Members bring swarms of bees to these areas where they live and reproduce naturally without human intervention. Of course, they do not take the honey or any other produce from the bees. They let all the processes in the hive take place in a natural way, which is exactly what is so special about the project and what is needed to insure the survival of the world’s bees.

The group was founded by Yossi Aud and Ronen Kfir eight years ago, and soon thereafter more members joined the association. There are now 250 volunteers all over the country. In the past year alone, the association has saved over 2,400 swarms of bees, which amounts to over 70 million bees.

So, why do bees need freedom? The answer is that bees constitute a foundational element in a properly-balanced ecological system – as well as in their contribution to nutritional safety for us humans.

Bees are responsible for around 75% of the world’s pollen. That is why protecting bees and their contribution to the food chain is so crucial. Bees are essential to the development and diversity of the plant kingdom, to air quality, to soil health, and to 40% of the food we eat. Not only that, but all bee products have extremely high nutritional value, as well as unique medicinal properties.

How is it that a small stinging insect could be responsible for most of the world’s abundance and so many health and medicinal products? The answer, as far as we can tell, is in the fact that the bees (about 50,000 in the hive on average) live in exceptional harmony both among themselves, and with the plant kingdom, the soil, and the world at large.

Could there be something here that we humans can learn from the bees? What if we as a society would work together and in harmony like the bees? Surely we too would create an abundance of health, harmony and well-being for all.