It has been an interesting past few months for us since we last checked in and we wanted to bring everyone up to speed on how we are working within this new paradigm.
The season of workshops started off well, with 25 eager individuals arriving through the gate for our opening workshop Principles and Practices of Biodynamic Beekeeping on March 7-8. In the following week, as the COVID-19 situation heated up, two webinar courses began, both the 6-month Foundations of Biodynamic Beekeeping course and a new short course, Revealing the Sacred Physiology of the Hive Organism. On March 17, the situation was such that we had to move our upcoming Top Bar Beekeeping course online, which had 15 people registered to come to Spikenard. Luckily, we have been cultivating the capacity to transform our beekeeping practices into engaging online content for the last three years, so the switch was pretty seamless. As soon as we moved this course online, we sent out an advertisement for the webinar and by the time the webinar was held on March 28th our registrations went up to 50 people! The recording and handouts are now available for purchase on our webpage, and people are still purchasing the content retroactively.
This gave us great encouragement to continue to expand our educational webinars, create more instructional videos, become more active on social media, increase our focus on online sales, and use these avenues to expand our outreach during these months of spatial distancing.
The need to connect to the bees and the earth is great at this time, and people have been giving very positive feedback and encouragement for us to continue these activities. A recent video that we developed and posted on Facebook of introducing a swarm into a Top Bar hive has 52,000 people reached to date, and counting!
Since the Top Bar Beekeeping webinar in March, we have rolled out many more, all of which have had excellent attendance, including Losing A Hive--Understanding and Troubleshooting ; Biodynamic Pest Management for Beekeepers; Products from the Honeybees and for the Honeybees; Spring and Summer Honeybee Health and Hive Management ; Formic Acid--The Gift of the Stinging Insects ; The Pollinators as an Essential Organ of the Ecosystem ; and more already scheduled. This has been a great help for us this year, however, we are still in need of support to keep these programs afloat.
Due to to COVID 19 situation, significant financially productive activities have had to be canceled:
- Three separate week-long immersive Waldorf school class visits (two in April, one in May)
- Travel to teach at the Sierra Club Roanoke (March), the Education Innovation Summit in Chicago (June), and other teaching engagements that had to be postponed.
- The Sustainable Biodynamic Beekeeper Trainings (May, June), the Summer Solstice Festival (June), the Mentorship Program (June), the Waldorf workshop (July); we will decide case-by-case for the late-summer and fall workshops.
- Friday Open Days have had to be canceled until further notice, where over 600 people per year come through the Sanctuary for guided tours and to purchase products from our farm store.
On the whole, program activities like these account for 25% of Spikenard’s annual income, or roughly $70,000. We are striving to help balance the budget through increased webinars, online product sales, producing educational materials for publication, more educational/instructional videos on social media, the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and reducing expenses wherever possible.
Still, we are certain that we cannot attain our projected income for the year due to the decrease in our most financially productive educational activities. With this in mind, we have set the goal for this Spring/Summer to raise $30,000 to support the new developments in our programs and to help buffer the projected losses.
We ask you, dear friends and donors, with deep humbleness, to give as generously as you can in support of Spikenard’s work in service of the honeybees and our Earth. Our hearts go out to all of you who stand with us in solidarity during these uncertain times. Whether you can give to Spikenard this year or not, we are grateful for you and THANK YOU for being with us on this journey.
With gratitude and warm encouragement,