The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees is a short story that imagines that wasps paper nests are intricate, microscopic maps. Wasps collect information about the world and note it in their Great Library at the centre of the colony, which is presided by a “foundress”. When the wasps invade bee territory and subjugate the bees (remember bees are furry vegetarian wasps), this allows for the development of anarchist bees, who decide that a monarchy is not for them and there should be no leadership. So they set up their own rival anarchist colony. Read the story here to find out what happens to that colony – it is a good example of what happens when a natural system is overridden. It is also a great example of why we need to be aware of the limits of our metaphors: while bees are interesting to study in terms of their organisation, their society is organised in ways that are fundamentally different (more on that here). There are a couple of interesting observations that emerge from this story: a)  the myth of leadership in the colony in which the queen dictates over subjects continues and b) animal structures record environmental information. The Monarchy Myth The queen is not a leader even though she is the most important element of the bee colony. If she didn’t fulfil her role of laying eggs the colony would quickly perish. The role of the colony is to create the circumstances that are conducive to the continuation of life, and if there is no new life, the purpose of the colony disappears. In a honeybee...

Market Life Magazine – Golden Opportunities

As well as producing beautiful honey, The Golden Company creates important opportunities for young Londoners whose entrepreneurial spirit might otherwise go untapped. Market Life visits a secret garden in Hackney to watch the latest intake of Bee Guardians begin their apprenticeships. I have an idea that could save everyone an awful lot of time and licence payers’ money. If Lord Sugar really wants a business partner with spirit, commitment and bright ideas he should forget about The Apprentice. Instead, he should take a trip back to his East End roots. Plants and shrubs are not the only things growing in St Mary’s Secret Garden in Hackney. Entrepreneurs are being cultivated here too… read the rest of the article here.  ...

Financial Times – Beekeeping becomes the new Buzz

Financial Times Despite its recent battering, the London Stock Exchange will next month take on thousands of new workers. The new recruits, however, are not traders, but worker bees, as the LSE becomes the latest business to install hives on its premises. Xavier Rolet, LSE chief executive, is enthusiastic about the project… read the full article here....

RSA – Youth Innovation Award 2010

From the RSA Youth Awards website The Golden Company is a social enterprise based in the heart of Hackney, East London.  It aims to empower inner city youth with the skills to develop a sustainable, environmentally-focused enterprise. The Golden Company has adopted a holistic approach that combines raising levels of personal aspiration, confidence and self-esteem with promoting youth engagement in nature and nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit. It enables its youth members to create, market and sell their own products, providing training in urban beekeeping, permaculture, business, carpentry, natural cosmetics making and life skills.  As members of the company, youth members earn money working and share in the running of the business. An RSA Youth Innovation Award supported by the Society of London Ragamuffins, an RSA partner, was awarded to the Golden Co in 2010. This enabled the company in partnership with St. Mary’s Secret Garden and Archway Herbal Clinic to offer four natural product-making workshops to young people and members of the local community.  Workshops led by the dispenser of the Archway Herbal Clinic took place during the period of April – July 2010. The first workshop focused on introducing herbal products and processes to the Golden Co youth project members, with the members then acting as assistants at two further introductory workshops for members of the public. An additional workshop for the project members looked at how to design and produce a new product, mix essential oils and at product manufacture. Three products were designed, tested and launched at the City of London...

ELBA – Peter Welton Memorial Award

From the Peter Welton Memorial Award website: This year ELBA created a new award to commemorate the memory of Peter Welton, the Director of ELBA’s Legacy 2020 Programme who died suddenly earlier this year. The Peter Welton Memorial Award was awarded to Zoe Palmer founder of the Golden Company for her passion, creativity and innovation working with young people in Hackney to create a thriving social business selling honey related products…....