Teaching Newcastle Pupils to Bee Aware
The day was aimed at widening the schoolgirls' understanding of
the world and the importance of Fairtrade and ethical practice. It
also highlighted how essential bees are not just for the production
of honey but for the entire food chain.
Honey and blueberry farmer Juan Eduardo Henriquez (more widely
known as Chino), Apicoop General Manager, was in the UK to
visit us as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations.
Chino said: "Shared Interest was one of the first businesses to
lend to us so we could improve our honey processing facilities. We
borrowed funds again a few years ago to diversify into blueberry
"Our Fairtrade honey and blueberries are now sold across the UK
and are the main ingredients in Traidcraft Geobars.
"I have really enjoyed explaining about our work and lives to
the children in the school. My main message to the pupils is how
bees play an important role in the environment benefitting the
"We should learn from the bees who work back to back, shoulder
to shoulder. If we are capable of putting into practice one percent
of the way that bees in a hive work together, I believe we could
solve 99 percent of the world's problems."
Shared Interest Managing Director, Patricia Alexander, said: "It
is always rewarding to hear about how our investors' funds are
helping to change lives in the developing world.
"Apicoop has been a customer of ours for over a decade and we
are delighted to have Chino join us as we celebrate our 25th
anniversary this year."
Local beekeeper and former Biology teacher from Ponteland, Dave
Cowings, took up beekeeping three years ago when he retired and now
has five hives. He said: "The decline in bees in recent years has
been significant and I wanted to play my part in protecting them by
having my own hives. It was great to share my knowledge with the
girls at Newcastle High and was so impressed by their knowledge and
interest in bees."
As part of the girls' introduction to beekeeping, they were
shown all the components of a bee hive and learned about the roles
of the Queen Bee, Workers and Drones within the hive.
Nylah Thompson from Newcastle, who is eight years old, said: "I
really liked finding out how bees make honey and was amazed when
Chino told us how he helped to look after 55,000 beehives in Chile
- that's a lot of honey!"
Hilary French, Headmistress at Newcastle High, said: "The girls
were absolutely fascinated by the importance and complexity of
beekeeping both at an amateur level and for the large scale
production of honey in Chile. The event was a fabulous opportunity
to endorse messages about protecting our environment and supporting
developing countries through ethical trading."
Apicoop has been a customer with Shared Interest since 2002, and
is made up of nine producer groups containing 600 individuals. They
have continued to grow, counting Traidcraft and Oxfam as
sustainable customers and can now claim to be the world's main
supplier of Fairtrade honey.