Featured photo: Beekeeper Samantha Foxx says she’s loved the pasttime ever since she got into it four years ago. (courtesy photo)
Samantha Foxx remembers the excitement of getting her first hive, four years ago. As a beekeeper and farmer, she immediately thought the buzzing bees were beautiful, something that has not changed in all the years since.
“I loved seeing how the bees work together,” she said. “It taught me so much about how I want to operate in some ways in my own life.”
More recently, Foxx has taken to the community to educate others about the importance of bees in the world. Her mission is to specifically educate kids in underserved neighborhoods. Foxx, who is a Black woman, says she didn’t know any Black beekeepers when she started. She loves to serve as a role model for young Black children with a passion for the environment.
Approximately 14,900 Americans made up the beekeeping sector in 2020, up from 14,780 in 2019 according to research from Statistica. Though the field is still white-dominated, Black beekeepers have gained visibility in recent years. HuffPost, gal–dem, and AfroPunk have all written about Black beekeepers since 2018, and some Black beekeepers have started their own blogs, including the African American Beekeeper. Others have publicized their farms online.
“I want to see a more diverse field,” she said. “And kids, they’re the future of everything.”
It is because of her own kids that she understands what is truly important. She wants to be able to share her values, a big one of which is being a steward to the environment.
“I need to be able to lead by example,” she said. “We all have a role that we should play in helping preserve the environment.”
From April 2020 to April 2021, beekeepers in the United States lost nearly half of their colonies according to a survey from the Bee Informed Partnership. Foxx herself did not experience this. Several sources cite climate change as a major cause.
Likewise, a study in Science Mag noted that the odds of spotting a rogue bumblebee in the US or Europe have decreased 30 percent from the previous century.
This is why education around bees is so vital for Foxx. On Saturday, she will put on the local BeeYounited festival through Mother’s Finest Family Farm, which she owns. The farm is more than seven acres and, in addition to bees, serves as a home for everything from chicken to worms to mushrooms.
The goal is to educate the community about beekeeping, both on the farm and as part of the festival.
“Everybody needs to eat,” she said. “Everybody needs food. Life has become a bunch of people arguing over politics, but the planet needs to come first. People need to get involved and the festival is a great way to do that.”
The festival will feature some local musical talent as well as bands from up and down the east coast, according to Foxx. Vendors will be small, local businesses and attendees will have an opportunity to see Foxx’s bees up close in her observation hives.
After the festival, Foxx plans on continuing to educate through a variety of beekeeping classes.
“You can’t train a bee,” Foxx said. “It’s not like a dog. You’re learning from them, and for me, that’s the best part of it. There’s no age limit on learning.”
Learn more about Foxx and the festival on Facebook.