I Had 90 Seconds to Justify Bee Ranching

 

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So I was sitting in traffic on the George Washington Bridge in mid-March, eating gummy bears and listening to 1010 WINS on AM radio. “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” they say. Well, I sure was in traffic for more than 22 minutes that day and sure heard a lot of news stories, but what really perked my attention was their announcement about the 1010 WINS Canon Maxify Printers Small Business Grant Challenge. Maybe 1010 WINS could give me the world after all?

A $10,000 grand prize! A 200-word statement online about why Blossom Meadow Farm deserves a small business grant was the first step. Ten finalists are then selected to attend the 1010 WINS Small Business Event on April 7 at CBS Radio in Manhattan. The following Monday, the grand prizewinner would be announced and receive a surprise visit. Cash flow is important for any business, so opportunities like this are unbelievably great.

Whoaaa! I was selected as a finalist! There were 115 entries and Blossom Meadow Farm was one of the 10 finalists. The only thing now separating my farm from the check was a 90-second “elevator pitch” and 3½ minutes of questions from a panel of judges. After a train ride, subway, walking a few blocks, and an elevator up to the 10th floor, I was ready with my crumpled-up notes in hand.

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My spiel? In short, our nation is teetering on a pollination crisis and raising native bees will greatly help us get out of this mess. Since mason bees, leafcutter bees and other native bees pollinate two to three times better than honeybees, I would use the money to expand my work with these alternative pollinators. I have orchard pollination contracts for apricots, cherries and apples this year, and the journey is just beginning. On our small farm, we just put up a deer fence, but we still need to buy a tractor and rootstock (beach plums, blueberries, etc.) to have the environment where the bees can thrive and multiply. Bee ranching will help ensure a brighter agricultural future and the judges seemed intrigued.

Bee ranching will help ensure a brighter agricultural future, and the judges seemed intrigued.

The contestants ran the gamut. There was Ché Chisholm’s Automatic Studios, a new filmmaking school for kids. With the $10,000 she would be able to upgrade the film equipment used in camps and workshops for elementary- and middle-school-aged students. Charles Flickinger of Flickinger Glassworks is an amazing glass bender. The $10,000 would support the development of two new styles of tableware; these dishes were stunning and caught your eye even across the room. Others wanted the funding to expand their frozen yogurt business, create a wholesale line of cookies and start a lemonade franchise. One by one, we were ushered in to give our 90-second plea.bee illo 03 Haejin Park

Mmmm, who won? As of this writing, I don’t even know. Check out my blog on the website to find out ☺.

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