An interview with Markus Imhoff, the man behind MORE THAN HONEY

We met with Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof to discuss his new documentary, MORE THAN HONEY

What inspired you to create this documentary?
My family for more than a hundred years has been involved with beekeeping. The kick was learning about all of the bees dying around the whole world. Creating this film seemed to me more important than the fiction film on which I was working.

What do you hope this film has, or will, accomplish?
I hope that the people will be aware how everything is connected, plant – insects – men – global trade – every consumer and member of a democracy. No one can think that they are a lonely star. Like the bees in the hive, we need the colony and are member of a colony. We cannot survive alone.
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How dire is the situation for bees?
We urgently have to take action. We have to change the way industrial agriculture is done
The consumer can help. After all, “we are what we eat”. If we are eating industrial junk only, what does that mean…?

What were some of the technical challenges of filming bees for your film?
It’s much more difficult to film a bee than a beekeeper. The mating queen was the biggest challenge: we spent days on a scaffolding tower attracting drones with queen pheromones. Her wedding flight, which was 36 seconds, took more than ten days – and we only actually saw it one and a half times.

We also used mini-helicopters for some the flights. We filmed the bees in flight at 300 pictures per second. The result was a huge amount of footage. We spent two years shooting, which resulted in about 205 hours of footage. It took us one year to edit that film down.
Do you think hobbyist beekeepers can make a difference?
Hobbyist beekeepers are key. Small-scale beekeepers are important to helping the bees.  It is better to have 5000 beekeepers with 3 hives each than one beekeeper with 15,000 hives. The hobbyist beekeepers really can take close, personal care for their bees.

Is there a part of the film that you cherish the most?
The bees being bigger than us!

Visit the MORE THAN HONEY website for more information including showtimes in your area.


06 2013

See MORE THAN HONEY; Taste Local Honey


Come join us at a a screening of the award-winning documentary, MORE THAN HONEY, in which Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof tackles the issue of why bees, worldwide, are dying. He searches around the world including the Swiss Alps, Varroa destructor-free Australia, California’s almond orchards and the fields of China, where so many bees have died that crops have to be hand-pollinated.


We’re hosting tastings of delicious, authentic NYC-grown honey with at the screenings. It’s a great opportunity to connect with people and discuss of bees, honey and the importance of supporting local beekeepers. Come join us!

  • DATE: Wednesday, June 12th (opening night) and Friday, June 14th
  • TIME:  6pm and 8:30pm screenings each night
  • LOCATION: Film Forum, 209 W Houston St, NYC
  • TICKETS:  Learn more and purchase your tickets here


Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof (THE BOAT IS FULL) tackles the vexing issue of why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. With the tenacity of a man out to solve a world-class mystery, he investigates this global phenomenon, from California to Switzerland, China and Australia. Exquisite macro-photography of the bees (reminiscent of MICROCOSMOS) in flight and in their hives reveals a fascinating, complex world in crisis. Writes Eric Kohn in Indiewire: “Imhoof captures the breeding of queen bees in minute detail, ventures to a laboratory to witness a bee brainscan, and discovers the dangerous prospects of a hive facing the infection of mites. In this latter case, the camera’s magnifying power renders the infection in sci-fi terms, as if we’ve stumbled into a discarded scene from David Cronenberg’s THE FLY.” This is a strange and strangely moving film that raises questions of species survival in cosmic as well as apiary terms.

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06 2013

The Honeybee Conservancy celebrates Earth Day at the Battery Urban Farm’s EARTH FEST!

EarthFest 2013 at the Battery Conservancy Urban Farm

Join us as we work with to raise awareness about bees and beekeeping at EARTH FEST, an exciting event by The Battery Conservancy and Battery Urban Farmers and friends designed to raise awareness about food and farming and the roles that both play in sustainable communities.

EARTH FEST is free and open to the public, and will take place at Battery Urban farm on Saturday April 20 from 11am to 3pm in NYC.

This family-friendly event will offer arts and crafts, workshops, site tours, educational games, a “Roof to Table” photography exhibit, a “Meet the Farmers” table, and a community Clothing & Kitchen Swap all geared to encourage food, farming, and sustainability in NYC.  Live music and Greenmarket-sourced refreshments will round out the event.



04 2013

Our Urban Beekeeping talk at Green Festival, the largest sustainability event in the world

We’re committed to working towards a more sustainable future, which is why on Earth Day Weekend, we joined to speak on Urban Beekeeping at Green Festival®, the largest sustainability event in the world, held in LEED-certified North Pavilion of New York City’s Javits Center

This year’s festival features talks and panels by esteemed experts such as as Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet and the upcoming EcoMind) and Mark Tercek, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy. Over 300 eco-friendly businesses featuring the latest and greatest in sustainable products and services will be there as well.

Our talk is at 3pm on Sunday. Come join us!


04 2013

Film: Dance of the Honey Bee

Have you seen the beautiful film, “The Dance of the Honey Bee”?  Filmed by Peter Nelson, a beekeeper and cinematographer, it recently won the Miro Inspiration Challenge. This rich film captures in slow motion the movement of honeybees both inside and outside of the hive.  Even the rapid beating of the honey bee’s wings –typically between 200-230 times per second — is slowed down for the viewer to watch. Take a moment to enjoy the film…


03 2013

Cathedral Of St. John The Divine Welcomes–and blesses–New Honey Bee Hive

Good news from New York City:

Blessing of the Bees at NYC's Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Photo © by Jan Mun

A new urban honey bee sanctuary has been installed in the gardens of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in partnership with The Cathedral gardens, which are already home to three peacocks and a family of red-tailed hawks, is now also home to a hive of Apis mellifera, a gentle and mild-tempered species of honey bee.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), honey bees pollinate nearly one-third of all the food we eat. Since 2006, more than three million honey bees in the U.S. have mysteriously died. The USDA states that this die-off threatens nearly $15 billion in agriculture – or 100 commercial crops – that rely on honey bee pollination. According to reports, the number of hives in the United States is at its lowest point in 50 years.

“Many people don’t understand how vital the sustainability of the pollinator population is to the environment and the food we eat every day,” said The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral. “The Cathedral is well placed to support the ailing bee population and we are glad to be partnering with to help spread their messages and educate New Yorkers on the importance of urban beekeeping.”

“Urban areas like New York City are getting back in touch with nature,” said Nicole Toutounji of, the beekeeper who will maintain the hive. “The Cathedral’s urban bee sanctuary is part of a visionary plan to reclaim our relationship with nature, support honey bee populations and contribute to the city’s sustainability efforts.”

In honor of her new home, the queen bee of the hive has been named “The Divine Queen”. In the fall, an artisanal honey will be extracted from the hive, which will be known as “Divine Honey.” As bees only travel 3-5 miles to collect flower nectar and pollen, the Divine Honey will take on the unique characteristics of the Cathedral’s gardens and neighboring flora.

What do you think about this positive event?


06 2012

Teach Your Children Well: A Gardener’s Thoughts on Earth Day…

Guest post by Michaela from The Gardener’s Eden (@MichaelainEden)

Holding Earth in Her Hands – Photo ⓒ Tim Geiss

As gardeners, most of us consider ourselves environmentally minded, and for us, every day is Earth Day. But, it’s important to remember that gardening —in and of itself—  is an unnatural act. When we work the soil and sow seed, fertilize and water, thin plants and harvest, we are manipulating the natural world. Agriculture is a human activity, and the end-results of irresponsible gardening and farming are as detrimental to earth as many other, more obviously harmful human activities.

Teaching future generations how to protect and preserve the environment by growing food organically and living sustainably, is one of the most important things we can do for our planet.

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ in my garden

Help the children in your life to become active and interested in learning how to grow their own food, organically. Even the simplest gardening projects —indoors and out— can help build positive experiences and teach skills to last a lifetime. Take the time to teach little green thumbs about the diversity of our ecosystem and how to identify and respect the plants, insects, spiders, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and other creatures all around us. Need some new garden projects and ideas for children? Books like The Family Kitchen Garden, Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots and The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Gardening with Children are a great place to start. More children’s gardening book recommendations can be found in the library page at left; where I’ve listed some of the best titles-in-print for teaching children about the joy of gardening organically. Although this blog is geared toward adults, throughout the growing season, you will find articles, projects and links on this blog worth sharing with children. In addition, you will always find online resources linked in the right hand column; including bird & insect identification sites, educational programs, non-profit environmental organizations, and more.  Have a look around, and feel free to recommend great resources for gardening with children, that you have found and would like to share!

Sowing the Seeds of Our Future – Photo ⓒ Tim Geiss

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate by helping the next generation learn to garden organically, responsibly and sustainably.

Special thanks to Tim Geiss for permission to use the beautiful photographs of his daughter Dharma, taken especially for The Gardener’s Eden.


04 2012

The Bee Course: For Bee Lovers & Beekeepers in “The Big Apple”

© 2011 NYC Beekeeping

Since the beekeeping ban in NYC was lifted in March 2010, urban beekeeping has taken off in The Big Apple. NYC Beekeeping is offering their annual free in-depth course in beekeeping, “The Bee Course,” which resumes December 8th.  Here is the description on their site:

If you are curious about bees and beekeeping, now is a great time to start The Bee Course.  We will be offering this in depth program in cooperation with NYC Parks Dept for the 4th year in 2011-2012.

The first sessions give you foundations in bee biology and behavior and will help you determine whether you’ll be ready to keep bees on your own this Spring, would prefer to join a community team, or just want to learn and volunteer with us. In spring as weather permits, we progress to hands-on sessions in our urban apiaries, exposing students to dozens of hives at various stages of growth.

The Course is offered free of charge.

Registration is here.

Feel free to share this info on your blog or social media accounts (esp. Twitter)!


11 2011

Remembering Karl von Frisch


Today we remember Karl von Frisch (11/20/1886–6/12/1982), the Austrian zoologist who discovered that the bees use dance as a language to communicate the location of food.  This theory was greeted with skepticism when first introduced.  In addition to studying their dance, Mr. von Frisch also studied their usage of pheromones and their vision.  In 1973, Karl von Frisch was one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine.


11 2011

Artist John Stark’s “Apiculture” exhibition at the Charlie Smith London – opening October 6th

One of our favorite artists, John Stark, will have an upcoming exhibition, Apiculture, opening on the 6th of October at Charlie Smith Gallery in London.  We published a short blog post about his art back in August of 2010.

Copyright John Stark

Copyright John Stark

An interview with John Stark in Spoonfed sheds some light on beekeeping imagery that is woven through a number of his paintings:

These beehives form the narrative crux of the exhibition, and lend a new “conceptual cohesion” to John’s work. Under the title of Apiculture, the works trace the ritual undertakings of a series of strange figures, like a cult of bee-keepers, anonymous under brightly coloured hoods and black face-masks. These bees, for John, are  “a really nice open metaphor, that can be read in so many different ways. All through the history of literature and art, the beehive has been cited as an example of utopian society, of a selfless existence. Do these hives represent the world? An idealised world? Art, even? Are the keepers the artists, producing the art, or the collectors harvesting the art?” Importantly, these possibilities are kept delicately open.

Copyright John Stark

Copyright John Stark

John Stark – Apiculture can be seen at the Charlie Smith London gallery from October 6 to November 12,  2011.


09 2011