Story of a Beekeeper, Episode 1: “Bees are fascinating beings”

Ariele Muzzarelli is a beekeeper and member of the Slow Food community on Pollinators in the City, in Turin, Italy. She owns “Apesapicoltura”, a small company specialized in beekeeping and honey production. “I practice a nomadic beekeeping on the Piedmont territory, and I am always looking for new places and welcoming lands for my bees.”

She produces acacia and chestnut honey with nectar that she collects in the Turin area. She started her business back in 2018, three years after she made an encounter that changed her life “I met an old man, nice and smiling, who spoke to me very fondly about bees. He told me about their world and invited me to go with him to his apiary. For the first time in my life, I opened a hive and saw a swarming of life, I smelled a variety of powerful scents and I heard a deep sound. Bees were buzzing so loud that I dreamt about it for three nights in a row. I knew then that beekeeping would become my job. I fell in love with them.”

I am always looking for new places and welcoming lands for my bees.

She followed courses in Turin and adopted her first 4 families of bees. “During these years, I was very busy at work, but I always found time for my bees and that activity became more than a passion.” In 2018, she took the plunge and set up her own business.  “Until then, bees had always scared the hell out of me. I first got stung by a bee when I was a teenager during a trip in Corsica. I kept a scar and I still have it today. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel the pain I’d imagined I would feel. That scar is like a mystery: doing this job I get often stung and no sting has ever left a scar. I now see it as a sign, a seal that marks my union with them.”

(c) Ariele Muzzarelli, Ariele’s beehives

In addition to honey, “Apesapicoltura” offers educational workshops for primary and secondary schools and trainings to discover the art of beekeeping to anyone interested. “Being a beekeeper is not an easy job: you have to learn to put your fear aside and replace it with curiosity. It is important not to be afraid of making mistakes. My decision to embark on this journey was also driven by my desire to overcome my fears, false fears fueled only by my misunderstanding of bees’ world.”

Being a beekeeper is not an easy job: you have to learn to put your fear aside and replace it with curiosity.

Now, Ariele has found a way to live in harmony with her favorite insects. “Bees are fascinating beings; they have a complex social organization, and they are capable of overcoming great challenges. They are tenacious and can withstand intense cold, adverse weather and human threats. Humankind has proven unable to live harmoniously with all other living beings.”

Worldwide, bees are disappearing due to intensive monocultures and the use of toxic pesticides. But there is a way out. The European Union must take action to phase out the use of toxic pesticides, restore biodiversity and support farmers and producers in the transition towards a bee-friendly sustainable agriculture. A different agricultural and food model is possible: inspiring stories like Ariele’s are a living proof of it!

How can you help? Sign and share the ECI “Save Bees and Farmers”!

With 1 million signatures, we can oblige the European Commission and Parliament to study our demands. Bee the change!

 

 

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