PODCAST EPISODE 16: Richard Noel, beekeeper, business owner, and all-round interesting chap, Brittany, France
For me, one of the best things about beekeeping is the way it connects to other things. Beekeeping isn’t just an activity in raising colonies and collecting honey – bees connect us to the environment, showing us how small we are and simultaneously how important it is that we change our ways to keep the planet healthy for all creatures great and small. The process of keeping bees is not just a practical one that has evolved over centuries since ancient times (although this is endlessly fascinating); it is also an art form – a slow practice that involves the love of a certain hive and the way it works. Similarly, the people who keep bees are often not just regular, straight-down-the-line beekeepers. From my experience, more often than not, those who are drawn to beekeeping, especially those attracted to it later in life, have lived through many experiences and often various jobs and careers until they come to beekeeping. Where am I going with all of this? I want to introduce you to a lovely English chap. A dear friend. A (once) paramedic. A landscape gardener. And now, a passionate beekeeper with a full-time bee-oriented business that focuses on queen production and a special strain of varroa-resistant bee. I am thrilled to welcome the one-and-only Richard Noel from Brittany in the north-west of France to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast for episode 16!
When I was galivanting around Europe a couple of years back, I was lucky enough to stay with Richard and help him out on his property in Brittany in north-west France. For a week I became chief lawn mower, with my primary job to keep the grass down in front of his hives! And you know what, I LOVED IT! I felt that youthful rush of being a new, apprentice beekeeper again. All those basic but important jobs still fill me with joy, and as I pushed away at that lawn mower, I saw just how hard-working Richard really is. Since then, we have stayed in constant contact – he is passionate and chatty and fascinating, and I am so pleased to introduce him to you all. Tune in and hear Richard and I chat about his business, how we met, his path to beekeeping, and the difference in beekeeping cycles between Brittany and Melbourne.