They are beekeepers and work with a “chain of favors” method to help each other.

Organized by localities, they found a source of income that means economic independence.

Inés Clusellas

The project was born with the objective that rural women could generate their income without having to leave their place of residence. It soon expanded and today they transmit the trade through a network that reaches more than 1,000 participants.

Ir a notas de Belén de Ancizar
August 26, 2021By Belén de Ancizar LA NACION

The Reinas de Corazones project was born in the Buenos Aires town of Pehuajó, in 2016, by the hand of Marina Muscolo to generate an opportunity for development and income for rural women without having to move from their places of residence. And, at the same time, produce a positive impact on the planet. Based on the concept of “favors chain”, the women who start receiving apiculture equipment and training, and then donate their first year of production so that with the sale of this honey other women can start in the beekeeping occupation.

Algunas de las mujeres del grupo Reinas Pehuajó.
Some of the women of Reinas de Corazones Pehuajó group. Inés Clusellas

That is how it began, that is how those who received it continued it, and that is how it continues to be nowadays. “The wonderful thing is, in addition to the possibility of receiving, also having the possibility of giving,” says the alma mater of the project. “This chain of favors has never been ended; that shows the commitment of each woman”. Under the motto “If you want to get there fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together”, this group continued to grow and in 2021 there are already more than 1,000 women in virtual training and 90 in production, not only in our provinces, but also in 17 more countries. The trainings are in agreement with INTA Proapi.

Cuando la miel está madura, las
abejas le ponen una capa de cera que
se llama opérculo. La miel va directo
a los frascos, sin procesos ni aditivos.
When honey is mature, the bees put a layer of wax on it called operculum. The honey goes directly to the jars, without processes or additives.
Inés Clusellas

“What I like the most about beekeeping is that it connects us closely with nature, you start to think like a bee. Spring becomes tremendously exciting and each new flowering is an immense joy. Everywhere I walk, I look at sidewalks, roads, fences, looking for flowers that provide nectar and pollen to bees. In addition, I feel that we make our contribution for a healthier planet ”, says the agronomist Marina Muscolo.

The main role of bees in the life of the planet is the pollination of crops. But they also produce honey, pollen, propolis, wax, royal jelly and bee poisons for the benefit of humanity. 75% of plants depend directly or indirectly on pollination and bees are most specialized in this function. In addition, these insects provide significant services to the environment by contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity.

Convinced that by working collaboratively a healthier and more equitable world can be achieved, these rural women come together to obtain training, financing and the purchase and sale of their products. Why women? In general, rural families live in the countryside because the man has a job there. That is why the need arises for an occupation and economic independence for women in this same place where they live.

Al no tener costos de traslado, su miel puede volverse más competitiva en el mercado y genera By not having transportation costs, our honey may become more competitive in the market and generates less footprint or damage to the environment. Even beekeeping is usually a part-time activity, that is, it can be perfectly complemented with other tasks.

Abeja obrera sobre un cuadro de cría y polen. Se trabaja con medias alzas, que son cajones más chicos que facilitan la cosecha.
Worker bee on th brood and pollen. they work with half risers, which are smaller drawers, that facilitate harvesting by being lighter to lift.
Inés Clusellas

“For me, being part of Reinas de Corazones means that we women can carry out this activity with total responsibility and the commitment that it implies. And also guide and accompany other women in this wonderful beekeeping world”, says María Casquero, part of the Pehuajó group. It is a relationship with the owner of the farm, in which everyone wins, since it is a production that needs very little area and does not use agricultural inputs. In addition, it provokes greater hold of the rural family in the countryside and generates higher yields for several crops – such as sunflower and canola – and forage crop plants – such as clovers and alfalfa – that are naturally replanted due to seeding thanks to the pollination of bees.

Cultivo de centeno que sirve de soporte
para que la planta de vicia se trepe y desarrolle. Además, el centeno aporta polen a las colmenas.
Rye crop that serves as a support for the vicia plant to climb and bloom. In addition, rye contributes with pollen to the hives.
Inés Clusellas

Izquierda: Celdas protegidas por abejas que las mantienen cálidas. Dentro de una celda real hay una abeja reina a horas de nacer. Derecha: La flor de vicia, que aporta néctar y polen a las colmenas.
Left: Real cells protected by bees to keep them warm. Inside a royal cell there is a queen bee within hours to being born. Right: Vicia flower, which provides nectar and pollen to hives.
Inés Clusellas

The group of women that began in Pehuajó grew rapidly to other locations, such as Daireaux, Azul, Lobos, Castelli, Cañuelas, Gral. Madariaga, Gral. Lavalle, Trenque Lauquen, among others. Until 2020 they met monthly to do one to one trainings, but the pandemic made this modality impossible and forced them to carry out virtual training. The positive point: this methodology gave the opportunity to have a greater reach and reach more than 1,000 women in training during 2021. Slowly and depending on the situation in each region, some beekeeping practices are being carried out, with reduced groups.

The next challenge for Reinas de Corazones is linked to the export of honey and the possibility of adding other products related to beekeeping, always with the care of the environment as one of the fundamental principles.

Izquierda: El grupo Reinas formó también un criadero de abejas reinas y celdas reales. Derecha: María Casquero, apicultora que forma parte del grupo Reinas Pehuajó.
Left: The Reinas de Corazones group also formed a queen bee nursery farm producing queen cells. Right: María Casquero, beekeeper who is part of the Reinas de Corazones Pehuajó group.
Inés Clusellas

Honey

When harvested from combs, honey is liquid, because the bees keep the hives at warm temperatures. When removed from the hive and with the arrival of the cold days, this pure and raw honey crystallizes and transforms in a creamy texture. For crystallized honey to become liquid again without loosing all its natural properties, it can be gentry heated in water bath, at a temperature equal to or less than 40 ° C. On the contrary, the most solid honeys are obtained by placing them in a cold place (the enzymes reduce their activity and no longer keep the sugars in dilution). Bee pollen is rich in protein and is low in fat and sodium. It provides calcium, phosphorus and potassium –among other minerals– and a multitude of vitamins, including B, D and A. Its benefits are accessed through the consumption of raw honey, without processes or additives.

By Belén de Ancizar

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