Honey Bees, Caring for the Environment, and Empowering Marginalized Communities
Posted May 16, 2023
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has been a tremendous source of inspiration and support for Sr. Arokia Mary Selvi and the farmers she works with in Manikandam, a town in the Tiruchirappalli District of Tamil Nadu State, India.
“Caring for our brothers and sisters means caring for the home we share. This responsibility is ‘essential to a life of virtue,’” said Sr. Arokia Mary Selvi. “The Reflections and Plans shared on the Laudato Si’ Action Platform inspired me to discuss with our farmers a plan of intervention to care for our common home.” (LS 217)
“The Reflections and Plans shared on the Laudato Si’ Action Platform inspired me to discuss with our farmers a plan of intervention to care for our common home.” – Sr. Arokia Mary Selvi of ASSIST, the Social Development Office for the Trichy Province of the Salesian Sisters.
Exploring Ways to Care for the Environment
Through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, Sr. Arokia Mary Selvi learned about the seven Laudato Si’ Goals. She then shared these goals with the farmers she works with.
The farmers were inspired to join the global platform and adopt eco-friendly practices in farming to both build the resilience of the environment and develop food secure communities.
One of the key interventions they implemented was the adoption of honey bee keeping. Mr. G. Selva Kumar, Founder of Natural Honey Farm, Cuddalore:
- Highlighted the role of honey bees in agriculture through crop pollination of coconuts, banana plantations, paddy fields, vegetable gardens, and fruit groves.
- Taught how “honey bees are a blessing for those plants who do not pollinate naturally.”
- Revealed to the farmers how nature encourages interdependency to facilitate growth and productivity among diverse creatures.
Turning Learning Into Action
ASSIST (Auxilium Synergy Source for Integrated Social Transformation), whose vision and mission you can find here, organized further trainings on honey bee keeping for the farmers. Then, they distributed honey bee hive boxes to increase the presence of bees on their farms.
Now, honey bees are loved, nurtured, and taken care of on Manikandam farms as co-workers in food production. Each farmer has two to four boxes on his or her farm to produce quality food without chemical fertilizers. And the farmers have pledged to stop using chemical fertilizers entirely.
Now, honey bees are loved, nurtured, and taken care of on Manikandam farms as co-workers in food production. … And the farmers have pledged to stop using chemical fertilizers entirely.
“The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has been a powerful source of encouragement and support for those who are committed to caring for our common home,” said Sr. Arokia Mary Selvi. “The farmers I work with have been deeply inspired by the platform’s goals, and they have taken concrete steps to respond to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the poor.”