PODCAST EPISODE 56: Simon Mulvany, Founder of Save the Bees, Blairgowrie, Australia
As many of you know, Founder and CEO of Save the Bees Simon Mulvany and I go way back. Save the Bees is an outstanding Australian organisation that aims to galvanise a community of like-minded people who would put their energy into saving bees from unethical and damaging processes. This has included (but is not limited to) incredible feats of activism (most famously against honey giant, Capilano) and the development of a wildly unique and useful online “honey map”, where local honey producers and stockists are pinpointed so consumers can bypass mainstream, unethical companies and their bee-related products. I am blown away by the work achieved by Save the Bees, and it is therefore a great pleasure to welcome one of my absolute favourite people to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast — the passionate, gutsy and determined beekeeper, Simon Mulvany.
If I were to describe Simon to you, it might go something like this. He thinks outside the square. He seeks information from a wide range of sources. He is a philosopher, a father, an activist. He has the wellbeing of bees always in mind and is critical in his analysis of beekeeping practices. With a huge heart and a straight-down-the-line approach to helping the world’s bees, Simon has proved that fighting for what matters and what is right, no matter the cost, is key. Simon’s understanding that bees are central to so many important contemporary issues: organic farming, nutrition, pollution, the environment, education, wisdom, permaculture, and love. Through a strong media presence and unabashed approach, Simon is united people to fight the plight of the bee, one corporation or capitalist ideal at a time.
However, Simon’s personal life has also been complex, and this makes him even more compassionate.
There have been some tough times in Simon’s past, and he has dealt with these lows with his usual courage and integrity. Looking back, Simon recalls struggling with the regimentation of educational systems and workplaces (something I understand myself); regardless, he did quite well in his assignments and exams, but then rebelled, broke free from the system, and spent the next ten years travelling: “During that period I spent a lot of time surfing, diving and spear fishing. I worked on vineyards and as a pearl diver and dive assistant”. Eventually he made the choice to settle in Blairgowrie, Victoria, work as a park ranger and start a family—in turn, his wonderful son, Oscar, was born. However, very tragically, Oscar and Simon lost Oscar’s mum, Georgie, soon after. I can only imagine how completely devastating this must have been, and my heart goes out to Simon every time I think about this chapter of his life.
Simon once said to me, “Bees are medicine for humanity, not only through what they produce but how they live in harmony”. Surely there isn’t a better way to sum up just how passionate this beekeeper is about connecting, educating and building a community of people who care for bees, the environment and each other. Tune in to hear Simon and I— a little hungover albeit after a beautiful World Bee Day educational event held at the lovely Sparkke brewery in Adelaide — go deep into his personal and professional journey to beekeeping.