Damian Magista

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since Mar 02, 2012
Portland, OR
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Recent posts by Damian Magista

tel jetson wrote:one aspect of Damian's outfit, BeeLocal, that's pretty great but isn't obvious browsing his website or his kickstarter page is the effort he's going to to keep things local (Damian, if you object to me sharing this, please let me know right away). sounds like honey and other hive products are delivered on bicycles (very awesome), and his hives are being milled by local carpenters instead of purchased from large suppliers. I think he mentioned that his website and all his promotional stuff is done by a local outfit as well.

if it isn't there already, "local" is well on its way to becoming an obnoxious fad word, but the local approach has a lot of merit. chances are good that these choices are costing Damian a bit more up front, but they pay off in the long run by keeping resources circulating locally so that more folks can afford to buy his products. beyond that, contributing to a strong local economy reduces reliance on long and vulnerable supply chains that are becoming more common, but certainly have the potential for devastating interruption.

so much of the bee industry is based on migratory beekeeping that props up unsustainable and polluting orchard practices. local production of honey for local consumption is very nice to see.

the bicycle bit also has many obvious benefits that you're all likely aware of.



I don't mind at all. Share away. Agreed, "local" will/is a fad word like "organic". Anyway, you nailed it on the head. What I do does cost more. It's extremely labor intensive. I manage 35 hives spread across several apiaries; most beeks manage theirs in one location.

As Tel stated, this how we break that reliance on a broken agricultural system. So to me it's worth it. So yeah man, well put.

6 years ago

Lori Evans wrote:I have some questions for you, Damian.



1. What is the cost of the containers to market and sell the honey? (either dollars or percent of sales/revenue)

I assume you are talking about jars and labels? It's maybe $1 - $2 for the packaging. That's just materials though. I hand emboss and write the names on each jar.

2. Do you need to go through a permitting process in order to sell the honey around town? Any Federal/State requirements or inspections?

In Portland you do not. This is designed to support local Farmer's Markets and encourage small business. Outside of Portland, yes. For retail you have to pack in an approved Oregon Ag Dept facility...like a commercial kitchen. Check your city, county and state regulations.

This question could go for any urban beekeeper:
3. Are there any complaints from neighbors of beekeepers due to increased bee activity? Is it really noticeable that there are bee hives on the lot?


In my case no. Pay attention to flight path and as mentioned may want to set out a water source so they are not drinking out of your neighbors pool. Is it noticeable? No. You can walk right past one of my urban apiaries and have no idea there are upwards of 8 beehives just over the fence. Keep in mind that am careful to place for flight path and spots that are not seen from the street. Last year I walked by a house in a busy neighborhood of Portland and they had placed a freakin' Top Bar Hive in the open so the flight path went across the sidewalk. This meant that the bees bumped you as you walked past. This to me is irresponsible for a variety of reasons.

Swarming looks scarier than it is. They will buzz around in a big cloud for a bit then land on something; fence, tree limb, eave of a house. Just go collect them or don't. They will eventually fly off adding to the genetic pool, which is badly needed. However, some ppl may be freaked out. A huge part of urban beekeeping is educating people. Also, give your neighbors honey. That does wonders.

4. Keeping a jar of honey (~8oz.) per year for ourselves how many hives would we need to have for surplus to sell honey even if it's just a few jars to begin with?

A good producing hive should yield 50 - 80 lbs of honey. That's quite a few 8 oz jars. Keep in mind a first year hive is a build up year. It may or may not produce for you. Just don't take too much honey from them. Otherwise you are stuck feeding and risk a starve out.

We are on a small urban lot and I am building up the flowers and flowering trees in our yard in order to have a hive in the next year or two. Thank you!!
6 years ago
You don't really need any room. You only need enough room to place the hive and be able to walk around it. The bees will fly out and forage within about a 4 mile radius. You could put quite a few hives on 1/4 acre.

There is no issue with putting several hives right next to each other.
6 years ago
I would agree with Peter on all counts. You'll know instantly if you are suited to be a beekeeper. It's a calling. They aren't easy critters to keep. They are sensitive and will
sometimes frustrate the beejeebus out of you. With that said they are amazing.

Swarm chasing is a hoot. I didn't do it last year but the year before I caught 12 + swarms until there was no more gear to put them in.
6 years ago
Gorsh, thanks!

The CCD thread pretty much covers it. I haven't met Jacqueline...I like what she has to say.

In a nutshell commercial beekeeping practices are akin to large scale poultry or livestock farming. The methods are unhealthy for the bees so of course something terrible is going to happen. CCD symptomatic of a broken system.

Bee kept in urban areas do very well. We don't really see CCD. I attribute this to the fact that they aren't being moved/stressed all the time, they have a wide variety of forage and are not exposed to the extreme levels of pesticides that commercial bees are.

Imagine if we were rudely woken up at 4 in the morning, knocked around, sent to some unfamiliar place, could only eat Wonder Bread (tm), given all sorts of chemical treatments and all to top it off all of our food stores were taken from us. I think we would become sick as well. It's not rocket science. We are treating the honeybee horribly.

I started Bee Local to help support our bees and bring healthy honey production back to the local level. There are so many benefits to doing so. As you mentioned local honey for allergies. Awareness of our immediate environment and how we treat it, etc.

I'm wondering off a bit, this was meant to be about "honey as main income" so I'll bring it back.

I know there are fun, low impact and creative ways to make honey your main income. Even with the larger guys like Tim Wessel (not sure how much his honey is his bottom line) but he's doing larger scale in a healthy way. I'm meeting with him in the near future which I'm pretty excited about.

It's about having a true passion for it and taking the leap. I'm leaving my full time fairly well paid job next week to concentrate solely on Bee Local. Nerve wracking, yes indeed. Exciting, absolutely.

As an aside, I will be offering Beekeeping lessons this season. They will be hands on once per month running from June - Harvest. There will be limited spots and I'll post a link to the info when I get everything set.

If anyone is interested in urban beekeeping we have a specific group called Portland Urban Beekeepers that meets once per month to talk all things bees with a bent towards beekeeping in the city. We met at Caldera Public House upstairs. This months meeting will feature the amazing Carolyn Breece of OSU. She is a super bee-scientist doing incredible work. For more info:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PDXBees/

6 years ago
Hi All,

I'm the owner of Bee Local. The Kickstarter mentioned previously is my little project.

This is my first true year of business and so far it's been very well received. Keep in mind that up to this point I have been working a day job. Supporting yourself solely on honey production is tricky.
Most of the time you have to go commercial to really make anything.

My model is a bit unique, however it is working. Logistically it's very challenging. I also leverage other opportunities as well so it's not just the honey.

It's was a pleasant surprise to see my project pop up here. If anyone has any questions about it feel free to ask.

Damian
Bee Local
www.beelocal.com
6 years ago