THE FWSU STORY: BFA Fairfax Plans Sweet New Addition to School Farm

The PreK-12 Farm to School Program at BFA Fairfax continues to grow at an astonishing pace. In May there will be an exciting new addition to the School Farm: honeybees are coming! This is an important step toward sustainability.

A student cleans propolis from a hivebox.

A student cleans propolis from a hive box.

“Upwards of 40% of the fruit and vegetables we eat depend on bees to pollinate them —this includes almost everything in our berry nursery, orchard, and vegetable gardens,” said Fred Griffin FTS Coordinator.

Students in the Farm to School class have reconditioned wooden hive boxes that were donated to the program. Propolis, the “glue” bees use to seal openings and to secure their hive, had to be scraped from surfaces. Honey frames were repaired and all of the exterior hive parts received a fresh coating of white paint.

Hive boxes getting a fresh coat of paint.

Hive boxes getting a fresh coat of paint.

Each student in the class is currently preparing a photo essay on one aspect of bee life or bee-keeping.  The reports will be shared next week. “We are going to have a class of bee experts!” said Griffin.

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An informational flyer explains bee facts to students and staff.

In support of The Bee Project, members of the Farm to School Club prepared a “Bee Facts and Bee Myths” flyer for distribution throughout the school. “Honeybees are gentle creatures. We need everyone to know this. They never sting unless their Queen is in danger or unless you are stealing honey. Students and teachers will not notice they are on site unless they visit the hive!” said Griffin.

The future home of bees on the School Farm.

The future home of bees on the BFA Fairfax School Farm.

As part of the preparation for The Bee Project, the first semester Farm to School class constructed raised beds for a 1500 square-foot Pollinator Garden adjacent to where the hives will be located. Community members have pledged perennials to go along with the flowers students will seed and transplant in April and May.

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