Where Beehives Thrive

Inaê Guion

2019 - Ongoing


About 500 million bees were reported dead in the first quarter of this year alone in Brazil. And the numbers keep rising. Bees are disappearing all over the world. Agrochemicals, deforestation, diseases, climate change, fires, nutritional deficits are some of the threats and causes of its collapse. Is there a world without bees? With recent reports on the world endangered species, environmental degradation and accelerating climate change, a world without bees does not look good at all.

Where beehives thrive is a work about bees, agroecology and strong women involved with the agrarian reform social movement in Brazil.

Contrary to current Brazilian policy - which only this year released the use of approximately 400 pesticides, many of which are banned in Europe and other parts of the world - is agroecology. At the forefront of this movement are women, who increasingly affirm their protagonism. Fighting for their rights and for the rights of the land to be cultivated with respect and responsibility.

Mara received her land 16 years ago after an unproductive farm was designated for agrarian reform in the Paraíba Valley - an important region which connects São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Amidst the mountains and the Atlantic rainforest she plants peanuts, manioc, avocado, cambuci and countless other species. Here her bees thrive. As she likes to say, her production is not only organic, it is more than that, it is agroecological. All the environment and its biodiversity are taken into account, seeking not only a good harvest, but also the recovery and preservation of natural resources. Even a spring that was once forgotten, has now returned to gush in her productive lands.

Now she shares what she knows about the bees. New rural settlements have been designated for agrarian reform in the region and beneficiary families have already started the agroecological transition and are learning about beekeeping. Soon more hives will thrive between the mountains of the Atlantic Forest.

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  • First ones. Mara proudly shows the first box of bees she has laid on her grounds. The heat of the sun begins to warm the cold morning air in the mountains of the Serra da Mantiqueira, in the Paraíba Valley.

  • Honeycomb

  • Fast learner. Ana watches closely at Mara's instructions. She already has her box ready to start her own hive and can not wait. The buzzing of bees calms her and she loves being surrounded by them.

  • Amid the smoke of the fumigator, future beekepers are preparing for the inauguration of their first apiary.

  • Box of bees.

  • Mara among future beekeepers in their rural settlement in the Paraíba Valley, Brazil.

  • The fumigator.

  • The youngest. As soon as he wakes up, Caleb joins his mother to walk the plantations harvesting the food that will be consumed or sold at food fairs in the city.

  • Bees are responsible for pollination of more than 70% of the planet's plant species, including food arriving at our table, such as coffee, tomatoes and apples.

  • Mara cleans the roots and removes the peanuts harvested early in the morning in her land.

  • Mara and the beginning of a new day.