IMG_9146One of the simple pleasures of a living in a small town is riding a bike everywhere you go. My husband and I love to pedal downtown to Howard Park every Saturday morning for our local Farmers Market. We’ve frequented much bigger Farmers Markets in Florida and the Bay Area, but there is nothing like the friendly and eclectic mix in Fairfield.

There you can chat with Fairfield’s Amish and Mennonite neighbors who sell pasture-raised organic eggs (Robert Yoder Farms from Bloomfield), the healthiest flower baskets you’ve ever seen (Lengachers Greenhouse in Keosaqua), and freshly made pies and bread from a Brighton family. Smiling Amish teenagers help sell the produce, and shy younger children hide behind their mothers or chase each other in tag games under the trees, their bonnet strings and long dresses flying in the breeze.

IMG_8556And then there are our amazing certified organic farmers, like Steve and Susan McLaskey, who run the new MUM Student Organic Farm. Steve is from my hometown of Naperville, IL, and is a descendent of the Goodrich family, who more than a century ago donated their farmland for Goodrich School, where I attended elementary school.The talented Dale Goodale is wandering around the market, having already sold out of the spring greens and sweet organic carrots he started in February inside his greenhouse. In early May you could buy his spectacular hand-tapped maple syrup if you got to the market early enough.

IMG_6416I never miss a chance to talk with older, local farmers, such as Ernie Hinkle, who at age 90 still shows up every Saturday morning. He was one of the founders of the Fairfield Farmer’s market. Even though he’s not certified organic, Ernie hasn’t used pesticides or chemicals on his garden veggies for decades. The former mayor of Birmingham, IA, Ernie and his wife raised over 30 foster children and adopted six.

Last week I bought a bag of spring lettuce greens from Ernie and was treated to a story about his time in vaudeville. He’ll regale you with a song if you ask him. I also bought organic pasture-raised eggs from Steve and Kim Keller, whose father was a friend of Ernie’s and also a founder of Fairfield’s Farmer’s market. They carry on their father’s farming tradition and are certified organic. (The eggs, by the way cost only $3.50. In the Bay Area organic, pasture-raised eggs were 8.50 a dozen!).

IMG_8540

The Farmers Market is also a great place to meet friends, who gather for the food, music and fun. Eventually we settle down at a crowded picnic table and eat a hot lunch of the best Ethiopian food in the Midwest from our friend Gannet and her daughter Hermella. The lentil samosas are a treat I look forward to all week.

 

 

IMG_8533One of my favorite vendors in spring is Rolling Prairie Acres, run by the Webster family of Sigourney, Iowa. They start garden veggies in their greenhouse for the rest of us to plant in our gardens in spring. Every year I buy three kinds of tulasi (holy basil plant), tomatoes plants and zuchinni starters. All their plants are grown pesticide free, chemical free. Last year when the sow bugs mowed down my squash plants overnight, I asked Doug Webster for a bug-resistant squash. He recommended a bottle guord called Cucuzza, whose stinky leaves and thicker skin repelled bugs. Its vines wrapped around our garden and grew over 200 lbs of long pale green squashes that tasted a bit like zuchinni without seeds.

IMG_8529My Indian friends thought they tasted just like lauki, bottle gourd, and cooked them into fantastic Indian dishes. My gardening partner Charlotte Judge dubbed this prolific plant the Cure for World Hunger. I bought six starters from Doug Webster this year, to share with our friends.

It’s encouraging to see kids getting into the spirit of growing and selling produce along with their parents and grandparents. At Rolling Prairies, Doug’s son Dawson taught me how to plant a seedling in a peat pot. And Paloma and Marisol Braun, aged 13 and 10, run their own business selling snow cones at the Farmer Market. Marisol told me how she markets their tasty drinks: “I whisper to one of my friends that the stand is open and they whisper it to their friend and pretty soon there’s a whole line of kids at our stand.” Talk about word-of-mouth marketing savvy!

One Saturday in early May I drove my car to the market so I could buy flats of seedlings, and ended up with too much to carry away from the Lengacher’s booth, where the Amish parents had left the selling to a teenage daughter Lydia and her older brother.

IMG_8559Seeing my two flats, Lydia politely asked, “Would you like help?” I declined, not wanting to distract them from their job selling. I grabbed one of the flats and started to my car, only to hear bare feet padding behind me. It was Richard, the six-year-old younger brother of Lydia. He smiled shyly under his straw hat and I could see the gap in his teeth where a new tooth was growing in. He never said a word, but he carried my second flat to my car, happy to be helping and grinning all the way.

 

Photo credits: Linda Egenes

Photo of Linda Egenes by Charlotte Judge

IMG_6322According to the dictionary, sustainable means “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” Or “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.” Other people might define it as the energy going out never exceeding the energy going in.

When I think of the words “sustainable living” I think of my parents, who, like many people born in the Depression years, lived a more sustainable lifestyle than most families today. My mom, who calls herself the original recycler, saved tinfoil in a giant ball, washed out plastic bags and hung them to dry, and even packed our lunches in used Pepperidge Farm bread bags.

My dad caught a ride to work so they would only need one car. My dad was an engineer who did not believe in designing machines with planned obsolescence, and he fixed his own tools and machines rather than buying new ones. He also designed and built our passive solar home in 1959, which had six-inch walls and was energy-efficient in an era when fuel prices were so cheap that many homes in our northern-Illinois neighborhood were built without any insulation at all.

On one level they had it down—they fixed, reused and recycled almost everything in their environment, so that the energy going out pretty much equaled the energy going in. Without knowing it they were early pioneers in the sustainable movement of today, which aims to rely on sustainable resources such as the sun and wind so we don’t have deplete our remaining reserves of unsustainable fossil fuels.

I was proud of my parents, and I took their example to heart, reducing my own energy consumption by becoming a vegetarian, and in later life ended up writing many articles about the sustainability movement.

But even while growing up I started to wonder if this principle of sustainability could be taken a step further—could it be applied to our human bodies. Was there a sustainable source of energy within? Most people I knew felt so tired at the end of the day that they couldn’t even enjoy the evening. Even though I was a young person, I felt pretty tired myself. I studied, worked as a waitress and took a bus to high school at 7 a.m. and returned at 5 p.m.

I started to wonder, could there be a way we could draw on resources of energy from within our own bodies, so we could end up at the end of the day with the same more energy (or more) than we started with?

Fortunately for me, when I was a college student I went to a lecture on the Transcendental Meditation technique and the young TM teacher giving the lecture told us, “Inside each of us is an infinite field of energy, happiness and bliss.” This idea rang true for me—that everything that most of us try to get from the outside, could actually be found on the inside. Most of us sense that there is a great deal more creativity and intelligence and yes, energy, inside us than what we have access to as we go about our daily lives. We sense it, but we don’t know how to reach it.

I started the TM technique at age 19, and I can honestly say that I have more energy every year. My 86-year-old mom comments on this all the time. “You have so much more energy than you used to!” she likes to say.

Research on the TM technique tells us why this can happen. The practice of Transcendental Meditation produces a state of profound relaxation much deeper than ordinary rest. When practicing the technique, there is also increased alertness and more orderly brain function, as shown in EEG patterns. The result is a state of “restful alertness.”

This state of restful alertness is experienced from the first meditation, and when you dive deep within, your mind settles to quieter levels of thinking, transcending the pressures, worries and agitation of the active mind.

Women who practice TM regularly, twice a day, report that this state of enhanced energy and alertness starts to spill over into activity. The inner silence, happiness and energy you experience in meditation replenishes your depleted reserves, so you can meet the responsibilities of home and work with greater ease. And by releasing deep-rooted stresses, your mind and body become more vibrant, more stress-resilient, so situations that used to exhaust you or challenge you no longer seem like a big deal.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Shel Pink, an eco-thinker and consultant who established SpaRitual—a vegan, sustainably sourced line of spa products and cosmetics—long before words like “eco” and “green” became popular. She now promotes the principles of “Slow Beauty”— which she defines as expanding your concept of beauty and aging to include the slower path of health and wellness rather than the punitive path of anti-aging through botox and plastic surgery.

“Consciousness is the future,” she says. “It’s such a fast world, an extraverted world. I think people are getting burned out, tired of checking multiple voice mails and emails and being engaged 24/7. People are really craving slowing down. If you’re racing, there isn’t the quality, you really aren’t productive at end of the day. Slow Beauty is about slowing down and connecting with your authentic self, to help raise your consciousness and put that out into the world.”

As a sustainability leader and a mother of two, Shel not only advocates regular meditation to create “slow beauty,” but she and her husband practice the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day to help meet the demands of their busy lives. “It’s reduced my stress levels,” Shel says. “After working all day, you can feel parts of your body hold onto the stress. When I do TM I literally can feel that part of my body relaxing and stress melting away.”

Shel says that if she misses a meditation, she feels that something is missing. “I almost crave it. And in the afternoon it’s a welcome reprieve to tune out from the meetings and deadlines for 20 minutes. It really refreshes me and helps me get through the rest of the day.” She also points to the research on the Transcendental Meditation technique, which shows that the rejuvenating effects of meditating twice a day actually slows the aging process.

Maharishi, the founder of the TM technique, talked about this exact point when he wrote in the The Science of Being and Art of Living, “The system of Transcendental Meditation, however, is the most effective way to bring the mind to the field of transcendental Being, where it will naturally acquire life-energy for performing any amount of hard work and for producing the most effective and desirable results. This drawing of energy from the field of Being is the most striking aspect of the art of living, for it brings the active life of the day-to-day world into communion with the source of limitless life—energy, power, intelligence, creativity and bliss.”

And, it seems to me, that a person who is able to conserve their own energy, to sustain their life energy without exploiting or ruining their own body, will be able to make more sustainable choices for her environment as well.

As the great poet and environmental activist Wendell Berry says, “The first thing we must begin to teach our children (and learn ourselves) is that we cannot spend and consume endlessly. We have got to learn to save and conserve. We do need a “new economy”, but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy.”

Perhaps the future of sustainability is about having more energy at the end of the day — a way of living that itself is energizing. A way of living in harmony with out own inner nature, so we naturally create a positive impact on the precious eco-system all around us.

(I originally wrote this post for Transcendental Meditation for Women Blog, November 20, 2013. Reprinted with permission.)

BY LINDA EGENES

Deborah MadisonFor more than 30 years Deborah Madison has championed home-cooking that is colorful, healthy and gourmet-good. Madison, who has won the James Beard award, the Julia Child award and other awards for her cookbooks, traveled to Fairfield in May to speak at the annual EcoFair at Maharishi University of Management. It turns out that Madison has roots in Iowa—her father was born in Burlington, and she visits here yearly as a board member of Seed Saver’s Exchange in Decorah. Her book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets was newly released in paperback in May. Here she talks to Radish readers about the book, farmers’ markets, and local foods. 

Why is buying local so important?

Deborah Madison: It’s important for a lot of reasons. Right now we’re seeing the costs of transporting food in our pocket books. But more importantly, the experience of going to a farmers’ market to buy local food is more satisfying and connecting. You see your friends, you see the people who live in your community, you see the people who grow your food, who might also be your friends.  It’s an experience of connectedness, which I think that Americans in particular are lacking.  The experience of walking down the aisle of a big supermarket with a cart is one of the saddest chores that we do, whereas going to the farmers’ market is a pleasure.

And the other reasons?

Deborah Madison: Another reason is the quality of food is so much better.  When you taste broccoli that’s fresh and picked the day before and it’s in season, it’s nothing like we get in the store. It’s sweet, it’s delicious. You’re gaining more flavor and with more flavor you’re getting more nutrition.  And for foods that need to be picked closer to their ripeness to really taste good, like figs, apricots and tomatoes—that can happen at a farmers’ market but it can’t happen in a supermarket where shipping is involved. It’s just better food, it tastes so alive.

Finally, it’s important to buy local because it’s a way of keeping money in your community, which is especially important in the rural agricultural sectors. It’s a more healthy situation for us to pay our neighbors for services instead of always seeing our money go far away to some big corporation down the road.

What were your favorite Midwestern farmers’ markets you visited while you were researching Local Flavors?

Deborah Madison:   I actually have three that I love, each very different from each other.  One was St. Paul’s, which is crowded, vibrant and bursting with an interesting combination of modern farmers and traditional Midwestern growers. I also enjoyed the Madison, Wisconsin, market, where a local chef and I started at 6:00 a.m., which helped avoid the crowds.  I loved the feeling of the market, which is situated around the perimeter of the State Capitol, with lawns and trees. The quality of the food at both markets was amazing.

The third market,  in Decorah, Iowa, is the opposite of the other two. It’s tiny but I always find many interesting things to take home, foods that we don’t have in New Mexico, whether it’s ground cherries or jams made with local fruits. It’s friendly and relaxed, with interesting people. I remember a man who had ground his own corn and it was absolutely delicious to cook with, it had so much flavor and vibrancy.

What were the most unusual locally grown fruits and vegetables that you came across in your travels across the country?

Deborah  Madison: In the St. Paul market I must have taken 150 pictures of amazing eggplants in purple or gold or with green stripes, even bright orange ones, grown by Hmong  farmers. And there was the most amazing tropical smell—it stopped me in my tracks. It turned out to be a fragrant melon called passport.

How far should we be taking the local foods movement? We can’t grow oranges in Iowa, for instance.

Deborah Madison: It’s a challenging question to think about. It’s useful to think about what should be bought locally: your lettuce should be local, for instance, as wherever you are it can be grown nearby. When it’s something that can be grown where we live, I see no excuse for getting it from California. If you can get wonderful apples in Iowa, then you don’t have to buy apples from Washington and New York State.

What can Iowans do to support the local foods movement?

Deborah Madison:  Iowans can support the local foods movement by buying foods that they know are local. There are active Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters throughout Iowa.  Certainly if you have a farmers’ market you can support local growers there. Sometimes your local co-op will feature local food. And you can always ask for local food. We have to be active consumers. We have to buy it, speak up and ask for it.

Crostini with Roasted Eggplant and Pine Nut Puree

makes 1 cup puree

If you have a chance, make this puree using the pale green or white eggplants or the violet Rosa Bianca—all of which are delicate and sweet. You can make it all in a large mortar or a food processor.

  • 1 pound eggplant or a little more
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • seas salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped opal basil, plus basil leaves for garnish
  • 12 slices toasted baguette or crackers

 

Preheat the broiler. Peel the eggplant and slice it into rounds about ½ inch thick. Brush both sides of each slice lightly with oil, set on a sheet pan, and broil about 6 inches from the heat until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side. When done, stack the eggplant slices so that they’ll steam and finish cooking. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over low heat until golden. (If using walnuts, toast them in the 350º oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until fragrant.)

Pound the garlic and pine nuts with ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Coarsely chop the eggplant, then work it into a somewhat rough puree with the pestle or in a food processor. Add a little lemon juice ot sharpen the flavors, taste for salt, season with pepper, and stir in the herbs. Spread the puree on the toasted bread or crackers, garnish with a basil leaf, and pass around as an appetizer.

 

Redbor Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, and Feta Cheese

Serves 4

A limited cupboard can sometimes prove an asset. I had dark red kidney beans from a California market, feta cheese, cilantro, and what seemed like an armload of Redbor kale. They worked well together, much to my surprise. In truth, any variety of kale is fine here, and so is chard and other greens, such as collards.

  • 1 ½ cups dried kidney beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • sea salt
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 large bunch kale (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

 

Drain the beans, cover them with plenty of cold water, and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the surface, then add the herbs, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and all but ½ cup of the onion. Lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 1 ½ hours.

Slice the kale leaves from their stems with a knife. Chop coarsely into 1- or 2-inch pieces and rinse well. Bring a few quarts water to a boil; add salt and the kale. Simmer until tender 5 to 7 minutes, then pour into a colander to drain.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the remaining ½ cup onion and ½ cup of the cilantro. Cook over medium heat until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes, then add the kale and the beans with enough of the cooking liquid so that there’s plenty of sauce. Simmer together for at least 10 minutes, then serve garnished with crumbled feta cheese and the remaining cilantro.

 

Tomato Juice Sipped Through a Lovage Straw

Imagine having your own fresh tomato juice. Strained but not cooked, the juice has a consistency far lighter than what comes out of a can. It’s especially fine if you can sip it through the hollow stem of lovage, yet another good reason for having a lovage plant in the garden.

  • 1 pound ripe, juicy tomatoes, any color, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup ice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 lovage stalks, fennel stalks, or lemon basil sprigs for garnish

Puree the tomatoes and ice in a blender, then pour through a strainer. Add a pinch of salt, some pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Let stand for a few minutes for the air bubbles to dissipate, then pour 2 glasses and serve with the lovage straws or her sprigs.

Linda Egenes is a freelance writer who enjoys her local farmers’ market in Fairfield, Iowa.

All recipes are from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets, Broadway Books

(I originally wrote this article for Radish Magazine, August 2008. Reprinted with permission.)

Kauai Aquaponics
December 22, 2012

Three stages of cracking a macadamia nut

The first day my husband and I arrived on Kauai’s north shore we were resting after meditation. Suddenly we became aware of two small eyes peering at us from the top of the stairs. Soon we were chatting with Micah, aged six, like we’d known him his whole life. Micah and his brother London, nine, were two of the best things about our trip–raised by their parents Dee Dee and Chris Almida, they were a constant source of information about surfing, herbal lore, native plants, and how to crack macadamia nuts.

 

 

Kauai Aquaponics

London shares his garden creation.

 

 

And since we were staying in their treehouse guest room ( Mount Meru Hale airbnb), we were warmly welcomed into their family for ten days.

Kauai, it turns out is a sustainable living mecca. With growth carefully controlled, you get the feeling that the spirit of the island is running things instead of the tourists.

 

 

Our tour guide, Micah, teaching us about the taro plant garden.

 

 

To teach us how the native Hawaiians carefully managed their ecosystem, Dee Dee and Micah took us on a tour of the Limahuli Garden and Preserve (a National Tropical Botanical Garden). Dee Dee, Micah and London do volunteer work there once a week to help preserve and restore native species. The terraces are incredibly beautiful, and connect the top of the mountain to the lowlands around the shore in one ecosystem called an ahupua‘a  by the ancient Hawaiians.

 

 

The Almida family (Chris, Dee Dee, London and Micah) stand in front of their aquaponics project.

One thing we were curious about–what were those trays of water sitting in their driveway?

It turns out that Chris and Dee Dee are adventuring into a sustainable way to raise food. Having left their farm on the big Island four years earlier, they were looking for a way to farm without the back-breaking work. Aquaponics, I learned, is a symbiotic system that combines the best of fish farming with hydroponics farming.

The fish waste feeds the plants, and the plants feed the fish, purify the water and keep the fish healthy. The result is high-density green crops AND tasty fish in a short time. The Almida’s have joined forces with other islanders to bring aquaponics to Kauai on a commercial basis. With limited farmland on the island, it’s a smart sustainable solution for every family’s need to grow their own  fresh, organic food.

As Green As It Gets
November 21, 2010


The Iowa Source cover story on MUM’s SLC written by Linda Egenes

Building the Future: MUM’s Sustainable Living Center
New Zero-carbon Classroom Showcases Green Living
http://www.iowasource.com/fairfield/2010_11_slc.html

Sustainable Living Center: It Takes a Team to Go Green
http://www.iowasource.com/fairfield/2010_11_slc_team.html

The Zen of Bees
December 17, 2009

It’s a warm December day in Iowa—the kind where you can stand outside for hours and not feel cold. I’m on my bike, headed to the southern edge of the greenhouses on the Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.) campus. I’m humming a happy song because today at lunch I happened to run into Alex Kachan, a faculty member in the M.U.M. sustainable living department. He’s teaching a course in natural beekeeping and invited me to observe the students as they open the hives to feed the bees.

Of course I have a vague idea of the importance of bees and their fragile existence on this earth. They are crucially important to us, since they pollinate about one-third of our food crops (including our livestock’s food,  as alfalfa and clover and more), yet they are dying now in vast numbers due to decades of manipulative management and environmental stress, which some call the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder. And I have read something about biodynamic beekeeping theory, in which the beekeepers maintain a peaceful, nonviolent mindset and behavior (practical hive management) resulting in no need to wear protective gear when they open the hives. The bees on the M.U.M. campus are not yet certified biodynamic, but the faculty are working toward that.

“Biodynamic beekeeping is more spiritual in its approach,” Alex Kachan explains. “It recognizes that bee hives are an organism rather than a machine with interchangeable parts. Everything the beekeeper does aims to enhance the well-being of the bees, rather than focusing on how much they can produce as a kind of honey factory.”

Alex Kachen and I stand behind a bee hive.

Alex Kachen and I stand behind a bee hive.

When I arrive at the spot behind the campus greenhouses, the eight students are sitting quietly behind the hive. No one is wearing protective clothing. With Alex Kachan’s gentle guidance, they take turns mixing organic sugar and spring water and a little sea salt in a large bucket. Already scout bees from the three hives are buzzing around the bucket of sugary goo, but the students are unperturbed. Alex says they should make the mixture in a spot farther away from the hive next time.

In talking to the students later, away from the bees, I find out that most of them are majoring in sustainable living, such as Sondra Cladwell, who owns a small sheep farm with her husband in New Mexico and plans to keep bees there. She loves bees. Last time, a bee took a liking to her and crawled on her arm for twenty minutes, like a pet.

Justin Saving traveled to Fairfield on a David Lynch Visitors Weekend and decided to enroll. “I’m a Kansas City boy,” he tells me. “My interest in organic agriculture started with my interest in organic foods. I used organic foods to lose 100 pounds. While looking into the sources of the organic foods I was eating, I found out that you don’t always know where they come from, and they’re also expensive. That’s when I decided I wanted to grow my own.”

Victor Castillo says he and his girlfriend, also a sustainable living major, found out about the university’s programs on its website, and are delighted with the loft they rent downtown Fairfield for 1/10 the price it would cost them in New Jersey. They are serious about their plans to establish two sustainable farms, one in Dominican Republic, where their parents have already purchased land, and one in Maines. “I think people are going to need local food sources to survive in the future,” he says quietly.

These students all practice the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day to reduce mental and physical stress, and so do I, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m relaxed enough to be a biodynamic beekeeper. Seeing how the bees react will be a kind of test.

When it’s time to open the first hive, I panic. “What if I’m not calm enough?” I blurt out. I’m seeing visions of tearing through the forest surrounded by a swarm of bees. “We’ll take a moment to settle down before opening the hive,” Alex reassures me.

Sondra gently moves bees out of the way while Viktor prepares to pour the liquid syrup into the hive.

Sondra gently moves bees out of the way while Viktor prepares to pour the liquid syrup into the hive.

Finally, after a few minutes of quiet, the time has come. Josh Wilson pries open the first hive. I move into a better position to take a picture, but Sondra warns me not to stand in front of the entrance, where the bees come and go from the hive. The aggressive guard bees could attack you if you step too close to the entrance. But no one gets stung, even when the students take turns prying the covers off the other two hives. In one hive, the bees are collected in the exact spot where the students have to pour the liquid food, so Sondra gently nudges them out with a stick so they won’t drown.

Josh talks quietly to the bees as they buzz around his unprotected face and arms. He calls them “girls.” I learn that not just the queen but all the worker bees are female. One of the male students jokes, “Otherwise, nothing would get done.”

These bees were purchased a year ago from California, and were originally fed with genetically modified corn syrup. But bees live for a short time (except for the queen bee), between three weeks and three months.

“So these bees have actually been born on our campus,” says Alex. “Bees are sensitive barometers. They sense the environment, and we are very lucky to have a calm feeling here. I think the bees feel that.”