Foundations of Biodynamic Beekeeping
Explore biodynamic beekeeping in depth with fellow beekeepers from across the continent
February 22 - August 30, 2018
Monthly lectures and biweekly discussion sections
This six-month online course is an opportunity for those who want to explore in-depth the nature and life of the honeybee from the biodynamic perspective—an understanding which gives rise to appropriate beekeeping practices that allow the bees to thrive. Lectures on the principles of colony health will be paired with practical guidance in beekeeping through the course of the season.
This course will be led by Alex Tuchman of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary and is for beginning beekeepers or those who want to start again in a new way: by the biodynamic method.
We are grateful to our new Business and Community Partner, Supracor, for their sponsorship of this course.
Monthly Lecture Topics
February - What is Biodynamic Beekeeping?
Thursday, Feb. 22, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
This introductory lecture will give the big picture overview of the attitude and perspective of biodynamic beekeeping and the practices involved.
Discussion Section 1
Thursday, Mar. 8, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
March - Hive as an Organism
Thursday, Mar. 29, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
The natural creation and organization of workers, drones, queen, and wax comb within each hive is central to the understanding of a hive as an organism, each ‘organ’ playing a vitally important role in the health, vitality, and whole-ness of the colony.
Discussion Section 2
Thursday, Apr. 12, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
April - Swarming and Natural Queens
Thursday, Apr. 26, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
We will delve into the details of the breeding and reproduction of honeybees—sharing beekeeping practices that are based on enhancing the wisdom inherent in the bees’ natural instincts.
Discussion Section 3
Thursday, May 10, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
May - Spring and Summer Beekeeping
Thursday, May 31, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
We will start from an understanding of the life of the colony in the spring and summer months, and cover the important tasks of the beekeeper during this time.
Discussion Section 4
Thursday, June 7, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
June & July - Expansion and Contraction
Thursday, June 28, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
The biggest change of the season, from expansion to contraction begins after the sun reaches its height on the summer solstice. This time of the year is most important for the beekeeper to properly manage the wax comb and set the hive in the right place to deal with the increased pest pressure and other health challenges that come in the height of summer.
Discussion Section 5
Tuesday, July 17, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
August - Fall and Winter Beekeeping
Thursday, Aug. 9, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
We will start from an understanding of the life of the colony in the fall and winter months, and cover the important tasks of the beekeeper from this time until April.
Discussion Section 6
Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
The Foundations of Biodynamic Beekeeping includes twelve live video sessions, beginning in late February and ending in late August. Alex and course participants meet through live, interactive video classes that include:
- Lectures from Alex to illuminate and clarify the topics of study
- Readings with study questions from Towards Saving the Honeybee and Bees
- Question and answer sessions
- Small-group and full-group facilitated conversation and discussion
In addition to the monthly class sessions, for the 2018 course, we will also have a bi-weekly discussion session for participants to discuss questions and reflections with each other and Alex.
To fully participate in the live video sessions, you need to have a reliable internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone with camera and microphone. If you don’t have a device that supports this video technology, you may access the course via telephone. Video recordings of each weekly session will be available to participants to review content or make up for a missed class.
To ensure continuity and a high-quality educational experience, participants are asked to commit to the full seven months and late registrations will not be accepted.
Registration for the 2018 cohort is now open. Registration for the course is $270 for Biodynamic Association members and $300 for the general public. Partial scholarships are available through the Biodynamic Scholarship Fund.
Alex Tuchman is the Program Director and Farm Manager of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary (link is external), a biodynamic farm and apiary founded by Gunther Hauk in Floyd, Virginia. At Spikenard, Alex works to implement all educational workshops and programs, where he serves as a lead instructor. His responsibilities also include social and programmatic communications, as well as working with interns, organizing volunteer and visitor activities, oversight of the bees, the flower and vegetable gardens, and the research program. Alex started at Spikenard Farm in March of 2014 after working 3 years as the manager of the Loyola University Student Farm in Illinois. He has over nine years of beekeeping and farming experience along with educational training from Loyola University Chicago, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (link is external), and the Angelic Organics Learning Center (link is external).
Testimonials from participants of our 2017 Beekeeping Webinar Series with Alex:
"It has opened up a whole new forum and medium for genuine dialogue about the important issues facing our honeybees. I am studying beekeeping but unfortunately a much for conventional approach, and getting to visit Spikenard is a little unachievable for me right now, so it is great to have this means of communication and education!"
"This webinar gave me the confidence to try knowing that it is important to spread this knowledge and these practices."
"It was a great introduction to biodynamic beekeeping. I have experience as a regular beekeeper and I was curious to know the difference. I love the way biodynamic beekeepers understand and respect the bees."
"The clarity of complex information and Alex's ability to excite the listener about these amazing and fascinating insects was so valuable."
"I have been beekeeping previously and even trying to do somethings biodynamically originally but hadn't understood some of the reasons behind it and therefore, had gotten away from it. So it was very valuable for me to get refreshed and also learn concepts behind the practices, like the need for warmth."
"The perspectives it offered were refreshing and more in line with my views than much of the beekeeping culture surrounding me."