Cherryville residents are known for their creativity and for caring about the world around them.
Erin Foggoa has already appreciated bees and what they do in her garden and the valley and now she’s dedicating herself to helping at least some of the world’s dwindling bee population survive.
“A friend got into bees and I was fascinated. I learned about how they live and work and how they are threatened in so many places and I wanted to do something. We’re proud of our non-GMO valley and I thought this would be a great place for bees. Anyone can have bees and its easy to learn how to take care of them,” she said.
Foggoa and her husband Sam Warning started Ville Billy Bees on their Cherryville farm as a way to protect bees and make their products available. While keeping bees is an ancient practice, they are looking to fund their project by crowdsourcing through Kickstarter, a way to let people make small investments in young entrepreneur businesses and share in the success according to what they put in. Contributions of any amount, starting at $2, are welcome.
Foggoa has set a goal of $4,000 for supplies and nucs, the starter families of bees, for spring. So far, $1,500 has been raised. She and Warning, with five-year-old daughter Molly, have been learning all they can about bees.
“I had a lot of misconceptions about bees. They are much more calm than I thought. And they work incredibly hard and mean so much to agriculture. We have to make sure they survive,” she said.
The plan is for the business to produce honey, candles, soap, mead and honey wines using local produce.
“The best surprise of all this is the support from the local community. Our ideal business model will involve the talents and skills of community members,” said Foggoa.
Over the winter, while the bees are living quietly on some of the honey they made over the summer, Warning will be busy in his shop building hives on traditional plans, brightly painted with designs by Foggoa, a graphic artist. They have also designed bee mansions, with more ornate exteriors for people who would like to keep bees in their garden and have the hive be a piece of garden art.
“There’s no excuse not to have bees. We all have to do what we can for them because of what they do for us,” said Foggoa, who is actually allergic to bee stings herself. She is taking desensitization treatment.
People might also know Foggoa as Lucy Dynamite and her graphic design business Black Sheep SK8.
For more information about Ville Billy Bees and to support the new business, see www.kickstarter.com/projects/1044315599/bees-and-honey-hives-and-mead-villebilly-bees-is-b. The funding must be all raised by 12:94 p.m PST on Saturday.