Perspectives in Honeybee Production: A Gozo Case Study
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The islet of Gozo, Malta is known for its rural landscapes and attractive tourist destinations. It’s also home to a variation of honeybees, maintained by the beekeepers of Gozo, and desired by farmers for the purpose of pollination. In July of 2016, I spent three weeks on this islet, practicing skills in applied anthropology through the Off the Beaten Track field school. I was interested in the means of production that go into the creation of honeybee products, and specifically the people that make this process possible. During my time in Gozo I met Adam, a 60-year-old beekeeper, who provided me with some of his perspectives on honeybee production. Working alongside Adam and his bees offered me a glimpse at what it means to be a keeper in Gozo. Recently this practice is experiencing new challenges, shaping the tasks and concerns of Gozitan beekeepers. These keepers express their perceptions of potential bee extinction as signs of colony collapse disorder (CCD) arise. With this, Gozo’s environment is facing unfamiliar conditions that are potentially related to climate change. These issues are ultimately met by a community of beekeepers that survives the practice of beekeeping on Gozo through the exchange of local knowledge and dialogue. I left Gozo with further questions about how the islet’s environment shapes beekeeping and what the future of this practice will look like given our warming planet.