Troy Community Farm, a 5-acre farm in Madison, WI, used their $2,500 grant to purchase beehives, bees, tools, supplies, protective gear, and incorporate hands-on beekeeping experience and instruction into their Beginning Farmer Training program.

Troy Farms — 2016 Alumni from The FruitGuys on Vimeo.

“Although the short-term outcomes were great, the long-term impacts are bigger. Honey bee hives often take a full season to build up and the second year is much more productive than the first. I expect a much greater honey yield next year. Also, going into winter this year with 7 total hives (instead of 2) all with various ages of queens, sizes of hives, amount of pollen/nectar, etc. will not only give a much better chance for coming out of winter with a sizable bee population (who can share resources), but will also be extremely educational as to what resources hives in our bee yard need to survive. These funds have given us the equipment to continue a solid beekeeping program for years to come.

The largest challenge we faced was not being able to harvest as much honey as expected. This was partly because it was the first year for most of the hives and they just spent most of their time building up population and drawing wax comb. Most of the honey harvested was all from the one overwintered hive from last year (which makes me excited for next year). I expect next year to be different!” ~ Annali Smucker-Bryan, crew leader and primary beekeeper

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