I sat down with my team last week at the farm (socially distanced, of course) and we began to hatch a plan as to how we could make our workshops and experience days work with social distancing measures, in preparation for an announcement from the Government, at some point in the future, that would allow us to invite you here again.
Many of you have purchased – or been gifted by others – places on our 2020 beekeeping, rural craft and gardening workshops and experience days, and we are immensely grateful to you all for your patience and for ‘hanging on’!
Much of the practical elements like how we would arrange the refreshments; changes we’d need to make to our ‘build your own’ pizza lunch, and how we’d ensure everyone was able to keep a reassuring 2 metres from others, were all simply thought out. I’ll be honest with you, though, when it came to the actual experience and practical parts: the up-close experience with a working beehive and the social aspects of some of our fire-pit cooking workshop, for example – they stopped us all in our tracks.
Being 2 metres from a bee makes it appear even smaller.
When I devised the workshops and experiences here on the farm, I set out to create unique, intimate experiences that brought individuals together to share in our passion for organic, ethical and sustainable bee farming, and the environment.
For almost everything we will all be doing in the coming weeks, or months, there are going to be compromises. Life isn’t going to be the same, as we’ve seen by the way we shop at supermarkets now, and there’s simply no way that we can comply with social distancing to protect my team and our visitors, while fulfilling my original criteria.
That is sad, but it’s also necessary, and now more than ever we all need to embrace returning to some semblance of socialising and enjoyment of being outside – safely and adhering to professional advice.
What We’re Doing
- We’ve made preparations for being able to run our workshops and experience days to the best of our ability whilst complying with social distancing and as soon as the Government allow, we will release some dates for the remainder of 2020 for those who would like to visit us this year.
- We’ve also made preparations to run altered versions of the experience days and workshops throughout the winter months. Details of these “off season” workshops and experience days will shortly appear online in the shop. These will be a reduced price to reflect some of the elements we would normally feature, such as a tour of the Nectar Gardens and the full tour of one of our working beehives, having to be removed, but we’re excited about these different style of events, with their own unique elements, and also some virtual versions we have planned, too. Sign up to the newsletter at www.beesand.co and you’ll be the first to hear when they launch very soon.
- Experience Days and workshop places purchased through us don’t have an expiry date, so you can book later in 2020, or even next year. Those with existing bookings impacted by Covid-19 will be offered first refusal on 2021 dates when we release them later this year.
The past few weeks have been difficult for everyone, and especially so for small businesses. We have seen our income drop some 90% during the busiest time of the year for us on the farm.
During this time we’ve worked hard to improve our online shop and products on offer. We will shortly be launching a brand new honey range, in exciting new packaging, and some of our favourite bee-friendly plants organically grown here in our small nursery.
I am particularly grateful for your patience – I know so many of you, just like us, are excited to get to our experience days and workshops. We aren’t going anywhere and we will fulfil those events just as soon as we are permitted, whilst developing new ways for us to be able to share our space and our passions with you.
Sincerely, thank you.
Jez Rose, and all at my farm: Bees & Co.