2019 Western Apicultural Society Conference

Every year the president of the Western Apicultural Society is given the chance to host the “WAS” conference on their own turf and highlight what’s good about their region. I’m honored and humbled to take on this role, and am hoping to create not just a conference, but an experience that emphasizes what we are – a society.

Our theme is “Hive Mind for the Greater Good,” built on the values of persistence and authenticity and celebrating community, women in leadership, and of course, bees and their keepers.

This weekend will be a mix of dynamic keynote talks, workshops built on the themes of art, beekeeping, social media and marketing, bee habitat conservation, education, native bees, and global research.

In an effort to create community, we are also going to provide plenty of opportunities for networking:

• We will turn the microphone around to the attendees with a “storytelling hour” in the theme of #beekeeperfail (we all have them, let’s take some time to admit it and have a little fun!).

• We’ll give attendees the opportunity to sign up for the “Community Waggle Dance Tabletop Show” where we will provide a bistro table to a selected group to create a “show and tell” display of something they are working on (a hive design, research, a tech innovation, etc.).

• Staying with WAS’s ability to provide an intimate experience for conference speakers and attendees, we’ll have “Roundtable Speed Swarming.” Guests will rotate (in groups) to speaker-hosted tables and spend some time in dialogue with a leader they have been admiring from afar.

• Throughout the conference we will provide multiple breaks, and a happy hour each evening, to encourage beekeepers to meet up and waggle dance using social media, the Bumble networking app, and our special interest themed “hive towers.” The hives are the place to meet your new best friend who’s also into beginning beekeeping, honey production, co-ops and supply chain management, bee habitat, native bees, bee-themed travel and service opportunities, etc.

Keynote Speakers & Workshop Leaders include: Dr. Judy Wu-Smart, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Katrina Klett, Elevated Honey Co.; Hilary Kearney, Girl Next Door Honey; Dr. Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University; Anna Gieselman, Bee Amour Jewelry; Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl; Molly Romero L.Ac., MSOM, Active Acupuncture of Ashland; the native bee team from the Logan, Utah, USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit; streamed opening welcome by Dr. Marla Spivak, and more.

On Sunday we will have a limited number of spots on an interactive bee habitat tour. We will load up in vans to travel to the Bee Girl organization’s “Seeds for Pollinators” research project at The Farm at Southern Oregon University, our “Regenerative Bee Pasture” research project at the Sampson Creek Preserve, and attendees will also participate in native bee research with the USDA Logan Bee Lab team at Mount Ashland.

Yours Truly,
Sarah Red-Laird
Western Apicultural Society President

Get the Nerve to Preserve Recap

Food preservation is an ancient art that was once practiced in most households across the globe. Its prominence took a beating from the eruption of industrialized food items that shimmied their way onto pantry shelves. “Processed food” evokes a new meaning in this era of ready-made meals, but my hope, along with many of my peers, is to reclaim the act of processing food by adding value with fresh ingredients, creativity, and devotion.

I want to revert back to a culture where putting up food for the cold, crisp winter months was not deemed fringe or hipster, but rather quotidian and practical.

Many folks who came to our InFARMation event last night are long time canners and some are just testing the waters. My hope is that we all feel a little inspiration from last night’s discussion. Experts out there, enlist a novice and confess some tricks of the trade. Rookies, team up and tackle a batch of pickles.

And, in case you missed it, KGW Live at 7 stopped by our event to see for themselves what InFARM is all about. Here’s the clip:

Thanks to our panelists Megan Denton of Able Farms, Sarah Masoni of the Food Innovation Center, and Leah Rodgers of Rockwood Urban Farm for bringing great energy and valuable bits of information to our food preservation discussion. And many thanks to the folks in attendance!

Come out Tuesday, October 13th to hear our discussion “Food is Health.”

-Erinn