As a new year is about to begin, we wish to send our gratitude to all of you and share some big news! Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? has taken us on a life-changing journey that we’ll never forget. Our experience filming honeybees, pollinators and the incredible beings who care for them has led us on a new odyssey to investigate where it all begins: the seed.
Above is a sneak-peek video of SEED: The Untold Story. This video is part of a new 30-day fundraising campaign to raise the production money we need to keep production going so that we can make SEED a reality by the end of 2013.
We’re asking for your help to plant the seed for this new film by donating to our KickStarter Campaign. Any amount you are able to give really helps. Donations add up fast. This an urgent topic so our goal is to raise $50,000 so that we can complete the film by the end of 2013. (Because our non-profit, Collective Eye Films is a non-profit film and distribution organization, all Donations are Tax-Deductible.)
YOU’LL RECEIVE GREAT REWARDS WHEN YOU DONATE INCLUDING:
- Exclusive videos and updates on the films progress
- Heirloom Seed Packets for a complete Vegetable Garden or Herb Garden
- Signed DVDs collection of Queen of the Sun and The Real Dirt on Farmer John and other great films.
- The DVD of SEED: The Untold Story when it’s complete!
- A Master Class with the filmmakers.
ABOUT SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY
SEED will be the final film in a trilogy that began with the Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? and Real Dirt on Farmer John. SEED will investigate the dramatic story of seeds, the basis of life on earth. The film will unveil a David and Goliath battle for the future of our seeds. As many irreplaceable seeds are nearing extinction, SEED follows heroic biodynamic farmers, scientists and seed collectors, who are working tirelessly to preserve agricultural security and seed diversity in an uphill battle against high-tech industrial seed companies and an impending global food crisis.
SEED will reveal the awe, wonder and hidden beauty of seeds. We will unearth the resilience and power that all seeds have to sustain, enliven and enrich our humanity. We hope SEED will ignite the imagination of audiences, inspiring them to be part of a new movement to help sustain seed diversity.
HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THIS FILM A REALITY!
- Donate a tax-deductible donation before the campaign ends! There are many great rewards–including a copy of the film when it’s complete! (The donations from Kickstarter go through our non-profit, Collective Eye Films.)
- Share the above video about SEED: The Untold Story with your friends, and community members through e-mail, your newsletters, blogs, or social media such as Facebook, Twitter. Or, feel free to write something up on your own. Here’s a quick link to share for our Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/UCmDGx
- Add our Kickstarter link to your website, or on a news article on your site.
- Like our SEED: The Untold Story Facebook Page and reshare our posts!
- Provide a reward for those who donate, we can add it to the campaign!
- Provide a matching grant! (e-mail us for more info)
We believe in the power of the grassroots. Without help from individuals like all of you, we would not be where we are. We’ve gotten a wonderful start on this campaign, but we still have a long way to go. The way Kickstarter works is that if we don’t reach our goal of $50,000 by January 25th we won’t be able to keep any of the pledges. Help us reach this goal!
Many of you helped make Queen of the Sun a reality. Now, with your support, SEED will be a new film that will help champion seed saving and seed sovereignty to a worldwide audience. Ultimately both films serve the same greater need, to spread the message that we can return to a healthy, vibrant agriculture that will serve all beings on this planet.
Taggart Siegel & Jon Betz
Directors & Producers of QUEEN OF THE SUN
We are proud to be the FEATURED FILM for Whole Food Market’s “Do Something Reel” ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL for the entire month of JUNE! Please share, watch and be part of this great film festival and see brand-new exclusive interviews with Taggart, Jon & Gunther Hauk.
Whole Foods is also hosting a Bee Awareness Campaign throughout June in stores across the country. As part of this, they will host screenings, dinners and events with Queen of the Sun. Check the event calendar for screening times and locations.
Proceeds from the DO SOMETHING REEL Film Festival go to benefit Whole Foods new Film Grant for Green Films.
“The beauty of a seed is that out of one you can get millions. The beauty of the pollinator is that it turns that one into the millions. And that is an economics of abundance.” - Vandana Shiva
With the coming of spring, we’re reminded of our sacred relationship with honeybees that so many ancient civilizations recognized. Whether it’s mason bees or honeybees, millions of beings are assisting us as we strive to improve our world. Much like the Egyptians and the Mayans before us, we give thanks in our own way supporting nature and planting flowers or simply putting up a solitary bee hive or a clean basin of water.
WATCH ONLINE FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
Queen of the Sun is now available to watch online from any country in the world through our website. If you share the film via your website or blog you can earn a 10% kickback every-time someone watches the film. Click here and hit the “share” link in the video player to learn more about how you can help the message of QUEEN OF THE SUN go viral.
We now have an educational curriculum available for free on our website. This curriculum is widely accessible to broad audiences. It is beautifully written by Lauren Johnson, a Waldorf Teacher who wants to give educators and students a way to learn about bees through art, science, history and poetry. Download it for free. Inside is a guide to creating your own urban beehive tour and a sample letter that was used to create a bee day in the City of Portland. Draft your own and take it to your mayor to help create change for the bees!
IT’S A FACT: PESTICIDES ARE KILLING BEES
Read more from Mother Jones about the latest study that has skeptics taking notice of the devastating effects of pesticides.
Bee part of the change and help ban deadly pesticides that are killing bees. Please sign this petition from Organic Consumer’s Association.
HOST A COMMUNITY SCREENING OF GREAT AGRICULTURAL FILMS
Create your own Community Screenings of four inspiring award-winning environmental documentaries: QUEEN OF THE SUN, GREENHORNS, INGREDIENTS and THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. These films have created grass-roots change in communities across the globe and have cultivated everything from a resurgence in young farming to local food consumption and community supported agriculture. Visit Collective Eye Films to learn more.
We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you all again for your support of Queen of the Sun.
Taggart, Jon & The Queen of the Sun Team
Today is a day for celebration here at the Collective Eye and Queen of the Sun! The QUEEN OF THE SUN: What are the Bees Telling Us? DVD is now available for Home Use.
WATCH INSTANT (does not include 16 languages or special features)
This DVD includes bonus features including:
• A Tour of Wild & Wonderful Beehives
• How you can Help
• Over 25 Amazing Bee Facts
• “Bug Song” Music Video
• Yvon Recites Poetry to his Bees
• Interviews with Gunther Hauk & Vandana Shiva and more!
Perhaps most exciting to us, with this new DVD we have been laboring incredibly hard along with a group of dedicated friends and translators from many countries. They’ve translated the film into a whopping 16 LANGUAGES (!) We’re so excited to be able to better reach an international audience all around the globe who has helped make QUEEN OF THE SUN a film with earth-wide impact.
Also soon to come:
• A full-color QUEEN OF THE SUN BOOK put out by Clairview Press with original essays on bees, the global bee decline and the philosophy of sustainable beekeeping by Gunther Hauk, Johannes Wirz, Kerry Grefig, David Heaf, Jacqueline Freeman, Horst Kornberger and poetry by U.K. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
• A QUEEN OF THE SUN App for Mobile Devices with all of the Extras featured on the DVD!
Please tell your friends to watch this wonderful and inspiring film. Let’s make a 2012 a year for the BEES!
Warmest Regards to all of you,
Taggart, Jon & The Queen of the Sun Team
“Bioneers is inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.”
This is the core mission of Bioneers, a non-profit organization promoting “revolution from the heart of nature.” Taggart Siegel, the director of “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” attended their annual three-day conference held in San Rafael, CA last month where our film was one of several featured screenings. The title of this year’s conference was “From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Transforming Civilization in the Age of Nature,” a theme that speaks directly to our relationship with honey bees and the need to rebuild a world that nurtures the pollinators so vital to a sustainable future.
People came from all over the world to discuss and explore new ways to foster ecological innovation and harmony with nature.
The weekend was chock-full of inspiring programs and activities focused on topics from “Grassroots Healthcare Models” to “Developing an Ecology of Love,” and in between events, delicious sustainably farmed food was enjoyed by all. In addition, Gunther Hauk, a biodynamic beekeeper featured in the film, hosted a powerful workshop about Colony Collapse Disorder and what we must do to reverse the tragic cycle of honey bee decline. To learn more about Gunther, visit the website for Spikenard Farm and Honeybee Sanctuary.
The energy surrounding this dialogue was truly inspiring, and with many biodynamic beekeepers in attendance, the future of bees was a fundamental piece of the conversation. Bees provide an ideal illustration for the type of mutual cooperation and connectivity that the Bioneers goals pursue. Pollination is the thread that unites flora and fauna, and the bees remind us of the importance of preserving the delicate balance of nature and of using it as a model for our own society. Taggart and and Gunther were honored to be a part of this event, and the film was well-received by an ethusiastic full house.
This month, the film also screened at another conference hosted by the Biodynamic Association in the UK. This event focuses directly on “The Future of Agriculture” and features interactive workshops that emphasize a biodynamic approach to farming. One workshop specifically explores solutions to bee decline, recognizing bees as “the heart of the biodynamic farm.” This workshop is taught by Heidi Herrmann, one of the founding members of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, an organization we were lucky enough to work with on Taggart’s recent trip to Europe.
Here at “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?” we have been incredibly moved by the overwhelming fervor of so many people coming together to support this cause. If you missed these conferences, don’t forget that you can host your own Community Screening or pre-order your copy of the DVD soon to be released. There is still a long way to go to ensure future stability for the bees and for the planet, but if the Bioneers and Biodynamic Association Conferences were an indication of positive change, we know that together we can save the bees!
“The beauty of the seed is out of one you can get millions. The beauty of the pollinator is it turns that one into the million and that’s an economics of sharing. That’s to me the real economics of growth because life is growing.” – Dr. Vandana Shiva, from “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”
Earlier this fall, we were honored to be one of the featured films at the first national Heirloom Seed Exposition held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. This was a spectacular three-day event bringing together farmers, gardeners, and eco-enthusiasts from all over the world to promote the sustainable cultivation of genetically pure seeds. Heirloom plants come from seeds that are naturally reproduced, openly pollinated, and handed down from generation to generation; this cycle of growth and rebirth is dependent upon pollinators like bees, and the bees in turn depend upon this biodiversity of flora, creating an essential partnership that keeps the earth in balance.
Over 2,000 heirloom varieties of vibrantly colored flowers, fruits, and vegetables were featured at the Expo, and each day was filled with vendors, lectures, art exhibits, and activities surrounding the cause. Keynote speakers at the event included Alice Waters, chef of Chez Panisse and advocate of locally-grown ingredients, as well as Dr. Vandana Shiva, well-known eco-activist who appears in Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? and has introduced the film at past screenings. Dr. Shiva’s speech addresses the rise of corporations such as Monsanto, misconceptions about the food industry, and the vast benefits achieved by ecological farming. You can listen to clips of her speech here.
With the theme of the Expo surrounding natural plant reproduction, the role of bees was an inevitable facet of the conversation. Scientists have confirmed that there are many factors that contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder and the decline of honey bees, but many problems can be traced back to large GMO organizations and commercially farmed monocrops. Due to modern agriculture’s focus on genetically engineered clones for mass production, bees are subject to pesticide contamination, lack of consistent food supply, and careless beekeeping practices among many other plights.
The Heirloom Seed Exposition was a great opportunity to demonstrate the importance of returning to a world of biodiverse food sources. If we ever hope to reverse the catastrophic pattern of bee decline, we must support the growth of organically cultivated plants from pure heirloom seeds. We were so grateful to be a part of this inspiring platform; not only are heirloom seeds good for the planet, but their produce is often healthier and more delicious, too. To support biodiversity is to help the bees, and we can’t wait to be part of the second annual Expo next year!
This is a key time of year to consider the importance of biodiversity and sustainability in our communities. Fruits and vegetables are being harvested and flowering plants are preparing for winter; this is the season when people work together to reap the earth’s bounty and appreciate the beautiful array of flavors, colors, and nutrients that keep us healthy. Here at Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?, we hope that the spirit of harvest also reminds people that this diversity would not exist without the bees. They are an essential link in the agricultural cycle, and as they continue to disappear at alarming rates, the need to spread awareness about the causes and solutions to Colony Collapse Disorder becomes increasingly urgent.
One way you can be a part of this effort is to host a Community Screening of the film in your home or in a public venue in your area. Hosting a screening is a great opportunity to bring people together to celebrate and support honey bee health and sustainable agriculture. It’s easy to do with a little planning, and there are many options as to what size and type of event works best for your community. There may be a local organization that would be interested in partnering on the project, whether it be offering a venue or promoting the screening through grassroots efforts. Past hosts have worked with a wide range of groups from beekeepers’ associations to conservationists to farmers’ markets. You could even set up a projector outdoors in a park, a college campus, or someone’s backyard!
If you’d prefer a smaller gathering of people to enjoy Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? in a more intimate setting, you could show the film in your home and augment it with a discussion group or a honey tasting after the film. To take a more educational approach, consider holding a screening at a public library or auditorium and inviting a beekeeper, farmer, or scientist to give a keynote introduction. It is up to you how you would like your event to run, and if you are in need of funding, you could charge an admission, ask for donations, or even hold a fundraiser leading up to the screening.
Whatever you decide, you will be creating a forum to share this important story and to start the conversation in your community about global solutions to this critical issue. Please go to “Host a Screening” under the “Screenings” header for more information about getting started. We look forward to working with you, and thanks for helping the bees from all of us here at Queen of the Sun!
Members of the ‘Queen of the Sun’ hive here in Portland are excited for National Honey Bee Awareness Day, happening today, August 20th. Today is the perfect opportunity to spread the message about honey bee decline to a broader audience, as well as to celebrate the many amazing ways that bees contribute to our lives and to the environment.
We commend the many beekeepers and bee activists who are using this day as a platform to host events that honor the bees! Many of these events aim to increase awareness and promote solutions to this global crisis while also sharing the bountiful products of the honey bees’ hard work.
In Los Angeles, you are invited to truly become one with the bees by dressing up as a bee (or a beekeeper!) to meet fellow bee-lovers at the Mar Vista Public Library for a fun and educational afternoon. (Learn More.)
Across the country, the Nixon County Park in Pennsylvania is the site for a day full of bee-centric activities, starting with a Family Bee Adventure featuring crafts, stories, and outdoor games followed by a honey tasting at noon and a lecture on Beekeeping basics. (Learn More.)
And in Fort Myers, Florida you will find a delightful array of artisan bee products from wax candles to tropical fruit to bee-inspired gifts at the Bee Awareness Day event at Terry Park. It will also feature beekeeping demonstrations, honey contests, and raffle prizes – a real bee carnival! (Learn More.)
These are just a few of the exciting ways people are getting involved on this important day. Why not make expand the day to National Honeybee Awareness Week (or month for that matter!) and plan something of your own. It could be a small get-together with a few friends where everyone brings a dish showcasing local honey, or you could visit an organic farm to see what it’s really like in the world of beekeeping; or today you could even just wear black and yellow in solidarity with the bees! Whatever you decide, please join us in paying tribute to nature’s most essential pollinators.
Have fun, and happy Honey Bee Awareness Day!
Don’t forget to pre-order the Queen of the Sun DVD where you’ll find many more great facts about bees as part of the DVD’s Special Features!
Next time you’re outside, stop and see if you can find a honeybee on a flower in bloom. If you stop and look at that bee for a little while, my guess is that some questions will start to pop into your mind:
- How do honeybees make honey?
- How does one bee communicate with another?
- And just how do they know how to navigate to and from their hive?
Questions certainly popped into our minds, so we’ve decided to post 10 answers to these questions and more below. The next time you see a bee, think about some of these!
1. Honey bees have four wings, six legs, two compound eyes made of up many, many tiny lenses and three simple eyes on the top of the head that are light sensors.
2. Honeybees perform a waggle dance to communicate the location and the directions to distant food sources that are 100 yards to 2-3 miles from the hive.
3. In one trip honeybees visit 100-1500 blossoms to fill their honey crop, an organ separate from their digestive stomach that is used to transport nectar.
4. Forager bees, steadfast and committed to their task, make up to 30 trips a day. Using their long, straw-like proboscis they collect nectar from the wild flowers and herbs of meadows. As Johannes Wirz says in QUEEN OF THE SUN, “Bees are the golden thread from flower to flower, keeping the world in bloom.”
5. The honey bee’s wings beat at incredible speeds! About 200 beats per second, creating the their un-missable “buzz”. A bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour and can fly a total of up to six miles.
6. Bees were not only one of the first sources for sweetness, but also for light! Beeswax candles were used by humans to provide long-lasting light in the darkness. Secreted from glands of the bee’s abdomen, beeswax is used by the honeybee to build the honey comb in the beehive.
7. In their entire lifespan, a worker bee only produces 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of honey.
8. The beehive is a “super organism”. All of the bees work together as a single entity. A lone bee cannot live on it’s own outside of the hive for even 24 hours.
9. In winter bees live on stored honey and pollen and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth. Their “body” temperature in the hive is close to human body temperature, 95-97 degrees, regardless of the temperature outside of the hive.
10. Some big numbers to think about! In producing just one pound of honey, bees from the hive visit approximately one million flowers. The entire hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles. This is equivalent to three and a half orbits around the earth just to collect one pound of glistening honey.
Take the world by SWARM! Be part of BEE-A-THON 2011, the free, global, online web streaming marathon to raise awareness and shed light on honeybees and native pollinators.
All day, from 9 AM to 9 PM PST on Saturday July 16th experts in science activism, naturalism, art-science fusion, education and entertainment (including us!) will share insights about the bees and other important topics relating to cultural entomology and biodiversity.
You can tune-in anytime throughout the day from living rooms, gardens, mobile devices and “backyard bee parties” all over the world, to listen to subject matter experts, ask questions and get inspired to take action. Your voice would be a valuable addition to this important conversation- You can listen in for 12 minutes or 12 hours – whatever you like!
BEE-A-THON 2011 is hosted by our partners, YourGardenShow.com, the first social network for gardeners.
Please RSVP to be part of this great event here!