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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Bee club has campus buzzing for sweets

Everywhere you look around this town there’s corn, corn, more corn and some soy. Everywhere you look in this country, there are people eating high fructose corn syrup and paying dearly for it. There are those cynics who shrug off the notion that the world’s sweeteners could cause serious health problems. There are those who wish there was an alternative. And there are Ian McCallum-Cook ’12 and Griffin Smith ’12, the leaders of Beekeepers Club.

Beekeepers Club sprung up from almost nowhere last year when the Student Government Association (SGA) funding committee approved the club proposal. In a mad dash to start the hive building process, McCallum-Cook, along with fellow apiarist Smith, used the funds to start up four hives about two miles outside of town.

“It took a bunch of work to get the club running, as there were numerous safety concerns, but with the support of the campus and much discussion with the administration, we finally received permission to set up the hives,“ Smith said.

The club’s four hives are located on a farm owned by Sue Kolbe. Kolbe, a professor in the biology department, acts as an advisor to the club. The club’s hives help pollinate the vegetable garden as well as the wild flowers and fruit trees.

The Dining Hall uses a substantial amount of honey, most of which is grown locally. However, the College has a keen interest in incorporating student grown food.

“There would definitely be the possibility of the Grinnell Dining Services being interested in buying honey from the Beekeepers Club,” said Director of Dining Services Dick Williams.

“After almost half a year, the bees are doing great and we expect to extract 20 pounds of honey this fall,” Smith said. “If this year’s harvest is a success, we may consider asking SGA for the funds to add one or two more hives because the group is so much larger now.”

With over 100 students on the club’s mailing list, there are possibilities for future expansion. However, as of now, both student leaders hope to keep the workload low and the fun high.

“Hopefully, we will extract enough honey to sell the surplus at Grinnell’s Farmer’s Market and use the funds to buy more equipment ourselves,” Smith said.

“We just really want people to get involved. The founders are all juniors and so we really want people to keep the club going,” McCallum-Cook said. “We want younger years to come out to the hives, taste the honey and realize how cool this really is.”

McCallum and Smith believe that they can’t take all the credit for the success of the Beekeeper’s Club.

“While this club has been a great success thus far, we couldn’t have done it with all of our great mentors, faculty advisors and the Kolbe family,” McCallum-Cook said. “These people will be the first to get the delicious, Grinnell student-grown honey.”

The Beekeepers Club has not resumed regular meetings as of yet, but there will be a trip to the hives Saturday, Sept. 9 leaving at 4:45 from outside the JRC and all are welcome to attend. For more information and to get on the club’s mailing list, contact

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