Honey bee populations are seeing a rapid decline owing to modern agricultural methods. To counteract this, Michele Liu investigated how ordinary citizens can help honey bees thrive amid a threatened existence. Her Beecosystem is a system of products to welcome these bees to urban areas. The product range includes portable seed discs and water reservoirs small enough to be kept in a bag or pocket, ready to plant when a suitable patch of land presents itself. By opting for the recognisable, hexagonal shape of a honeycomb cell for her discs, Liu makes their function — to attract honey bees — visible, so others will be inspired to carry on in the same vein and add their own contributions. What begins with a few single blooms can soon grow into an entire public flower field. For Liu, this communal approach by groups of individuals to achieve a common goal mirrors what goes on within a hive. In both cases, the individual works towards a healthy community. “By inviting honey bees to the city, we are also helping ourselves because we need them to pollinate our plants,” she says. Although her project focuses on honey bees, she stresses that it symbolises larger issues concerning food politics and our irreverence for holistic natural cycles in favour of a one-sided concentration on profit and efficiency.
© Design Academy Eindhoven