We are looking forward to the Sunday, January 12 arrival of a new team of volunteer Farmer to Farmer trainers, Les Crowder and Laura Ferguson. They are scheduled to spend a month traveling around the island, leading hands-on value added products workshops for beekeepers through the parish Bee Farmers Associations.
We feel so grateful to the Farmer to Farmer volunteers who make both the top bar beekeeping and the shiitake/oyster mushroom projects possible. Through the top bar beekeeping project (officially named “Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Beekeeping”), our Farmer to Farmer trainers are giving Jamaica’s beekeepers the skills, knowledge and experience they need to keep their bees naturally healthy and productive.
Thank you to Tom Hebert, Les Crowder, Heather Harrell, Megan Mahoney, Jessie Brown, Melanie Kirby, Sam Comfort, Laura Ferguson and Mark Spitzig. You are having an amazing impact on the island, and all of us beekeepers here in Jamaica are thankful for the energy that you give us.
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me si ya train foreigner weh deh jamaicans eh? mi nah see no beeman bout mi si pickney from foreign, wah
Bee man, we accept interns from anywhere in the world, and we get natural beekeepers from America (and one who lives in Honduras). We organize free trainings at Bee Farmer Associations around the island on all sorts of topics like: Introduction to Top Bar Hives, Build Your Own Top Bar Hive, Top Bar Hive Management, Build Your Own Foundation Mold, Build Your Own Pollen Trap, Treatment Free Beekeeping, Value Added Products, Candle Making, Queen Rearing, etc. I could flood this website with pictures of the hundreds of Jamaican beekeepers who attend our trainings, but I never got permission to put up their pictures, so I just put up a few here and there in our slideshows. The trainers are volunteers (taking up to a month out of their lives to come here and share their skills), and we don’t get paid for organizing the trainings, so the trainings can be free. The interns you see pay to stay and work on our farm. We’ve had one Jamaican intern (a young man who attends an American university). Any Jamaican who wants to come to our training apiary can call us and arrange to come. We’ve had lots of people come here and get free day-long top bar hive trainings. The only way a Jamaican person would have to pay is if they come and stay in our cabins and eat meals with us (one weekend a month for a year). At that point, they are like an intern, and pay the same rate as interns from the US. We also have a bee club for all of the kids in our area, and that’s free, too. I don’t know where you’re looking on our website, but when you are in our yard, you see almost nothing but Jamaicans. The interns and trainers who come deserve our thanks because they really work hard to be able to provide trainings to Jamaican beekeepers who get wonderful trainings for free in their home parishes. If you are a member of your parish bee farmer association, there’s a very good chance you’ve met one of our trainers. If you’re not a member, you are missing out. If you are a member of a group that would like training, give me a call (788-5154) and we’ll work something out. If you want to come and go into our top bar hives, make candles, learn how to harvest honey from top bar combs and leave with booklets that can help you make your own hive, pollen traps and foundation molds, give me a call. It’s all free for everyone and that’s why I can’t let anyone disrespect my interns. They are the only ones who take money out of their own pocket, which helps support this project! Of course, to give Jamaican beekeepers the information and skills they need to be successful at natural and top bar beekeeping is the point of our project, and it’s why Partners of the Americas funds the trainers to come here. How did you miss that when you read this page?
It looks like you are from Portland, and that is the one parish that has only gotten two trainings – one queen rearing training in a bee yard somewhere in the bush last April and a top bar hive and treatment free workshop at a monthly meeting in September. Tell Mr. Campbell that you want more trainers to come, and we will come. You’ll have to allow our trainer time to train, though, and dedicate most of the meeting to the training. The last time we went, almost the whole meeting (at CASE??) was taken up with your members arguing over buying land and insurance.