As part of the Franciscan Volunteers: No Risk, No Gain Program, we implemented a summer immersion experience that invites anyone over the age of 18 to participate in a week-long service/immersion program. This experience is one that grounds a person in the Franciscan charism of caring for creation and calls us to remember Pope Francis’ words in Laudato Si. Our reflections throughout the week were based on readings from Chapter 4 of the encyclical on an integral ecology.
I cannot help but recall this quote from The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd when I think of our experience in Tacoma working with the L’Honey Project—a collaborative program between L’Arche Farm and St. Leo Parish—a parish where many of the sisters are active. “The world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.”
GUIDING PRINCIPALS of the L’Honey Program:
We believe that everyone has the ability to contribute to their own welfare and to the common good. We can create entrepreneurial enterprises that meet needs without negatively exploiting other people or the environment. We believe that we can learn from each other and the natural world on how to create caring and sustainable models of commerce and social interaction.
Beekeeping is a natural fit when addressing sustainability. The challenge of any sustainable social business model is how to produce a product or service that meets the needs of your customer while taking care not to exploit resources to their detriment. Beekeeping is a great “weather bell” regarding sustainability and health because the well being of the bees have a direct effect on whether or not you will be able to produce your product. Healthy beekeeping demands that you place the health of your bees and the environment above monetary profits!