Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Maggie Shanahan

Location: Mexico
Primary academic field: Entomology
Award category: PhD Holder

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period:

Beekeeper-led efforts to resist pressure to industrialize beekeeping in Mexico, and to maintain small-scale diversified production systems of honey bees

  • Characterize the expansion of industrial beekeeping in Mexico by compiling data from state and national agencies and from annual apiculture conference proceedings.
  • Consult with local collaborators to document resistance strategies. For example, visit beekeepers and beekeeping organizations in the Yucatan Peninsula, in Chiapas and in Oaxaca, Mexico to document colony management, land management, and collective action strategies beekeepers have implemented.
  • Address two major barriers in resisting the expansion of industrial agriculture generally, and industrial beekeeping specifically:
    • Clarify what is industrial beekeeping: Beekeepers and bee researchers often struggle with how to define and understand industrial beekeeping. It would help, for example, to introduce a framework that moves beyond an industrial/non-industrial binary.
    • Counter the view that industrialization is inevitable: There is an overwhelming sense that industrialization is inevitable and the problem is too big to address. Peer education and evidence-based examples that valorize efforts in Mexico will be given to beekeepers, extension workers, and researchers in Latin America and the U.S.

Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application:

  • The focus on honey bees reminds one that the industrial system /model of farming animals to produce food for humans extends beyond the common species such as pigs and chickens.
  • The applicant has over a decade of actual on-farm beekeeping experience in the U.S. and Mexico, and is aware first-hand of the expansion of beekeeping industrialization in Mexico.
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