A new definition of farmer is emerging and a celebration of farming is happening at this very moment in cities, in suburbs, and on acres of precious rural land, all around the world!
Last week we made a big announcement: Our Incubation is Almost Over and We’re Ready to Hatch! In support of farmers and beekeepers everywhere, we are very excited to not only continue sharing their inspiring stories and helping their wares become discovered, but also provide a place to open up shop on an online marketplace dedicated to celebrating and supporting all that they do!
Our intention is to help farmers sustain a life lived growing tasty, nutritious food, raising healthy animals, keeping bees, practicing time-honored traditions, learning how to become more self-sufficient, and have the time to pass these skills and knowledge on to the next generation.
Ready to meet the maker of Portland Bee Balm?
Or, last month, you may have read an article on OregonLive which included a photo of the founder of Portland Bee Balm, Brad Swift, standing in his wood shop beside his fiancee, Anika Janson. In the article written by the Oregonian, Portland residents had a chance to learn what led Brad to make lip balm at his home using beeswax from his very own backyard beehives.
We were thrilled to connect with Brad recently and to our delight he took time out to share more of his inspiring story! Here’s what else we learned…
We are located in SE Portland, about 2 miles East of the Willamette River. Anika, my fiance, grew up in SE Portland. I grew up in Seattle in the Capital Hill neighborhood.
When did life as a beekeeper begin for you?
I began beekeeping as a hobby four years ago. I had always been interested in keeping bees and after seeing a neighbor working on their own hives, I realized it was a possibility.
How many hives are in your backyard in SE Portland?
We have only a couple hives in our backyard.
What influenced you to become an urban farmer/beekeeper?
I have always been interested in way to connect to the natural world that surrounds us, whether through trips into the wilderness, or beekeeping and gardening. It is impossible to be a beekeeper and not notice when the first flowers start blooming in spring, or when the last disappear in Fall.
Why do you choose to keep farm (i.e., grow food, raise farm animals, or keep bees)?
It is fun first of all. It makes life more interesting and complex. You see the connections between the different realms in our lives that we falsely think of as separate.
Gods Speed is painted across the top and Bon Voyage at the bottom opening of this hive
What products do you currently offer?
I enjoy the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into the building of our wooden displays cases. Each one is hand built from sustainably harvested Douglas fir, then hand painted by us. It is an artistic expression and outlet.
We encourage others to embrace time-honored traditions, old-fashioned skills and also celebrate the modern arts and contemporary craft movement. What arts, crafts, skills and traditions do you enjoy practicing or teaching?
I like to encourage others to become urban beekeepers. I offer support in getting over that initial hesitation. I also help people acquire to the skills necessary to become successful urban beekeepers.
Where can people find you online?
We celebrate and support Brad and Anika’s efforts to help out the honey bee while they enjoy an adventure in beekeeping and all the fun that comes along with being an urban farmer.