project leader
Amanda J
8282 Macon Rd
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Our Hives and Our Gratitude

the project

"Bee for Justice" is a modest project within a big dream. Starting from a small apiary and herb garden, we are building a business around herbal teas and honey products to benefit survivors of prostitution and trafficking. The focus of this grant will be the apiary while plans for the herb garden are being developed. From the honey produced by our hives we will create, in addition to raw honey, simple products such as lip balm and honey sticks, which will be sold, along with teas made from outsourced herbs,  in small local venues.

This year’s proceeds will fund Lives Worth Saving (LWS), a prostitution intervention program created by the District Attorney, the Memphis Police Department, and a group of front line responders to victims of trafficking. As our business grows, we will use our revenue to employ survivors with a livable wage within an emotionally supportive environment. Our project will contribute to the empowerment of these women to be productive, self-sustaining participants in the community.

Currently, we have a two-hive apiary and an herb garden consisting of 10 raised beds. In 2015 we will add three additional beehives and complete a master garden plan. The IOBY grant money will be used to purchase the equipment needed to harvest the honey.  

This year, we will be relying on volunteer support from both of our churches and other community partners. Volunteers will maintain and care for the bees; produce and sell our product line; host and serve LWS participants; and plan and carry out additional fundraising ventures. We will also be working on a marketing plan and public awareness campaign.

the steps


Install three additional hives in the apiary

Host ceremony presenting the new beehives to the community

Identify sources for herbs and other materials needed for manufacture of tea bags and honey products

Begin testing recipes for herb and honey products

Begin developing marketing and sales strategies



Harvest honey from our current hives

Continue recipe testing

Begin working with herbalist and garden designer on master garden plan

Continue work on marketing and sales strategies



Meet with herbalist and garden designer to finalize master plan

Recruit and train volunteers for garden installation and fall planting

Work with beekeeping mentors in preparation for second honey harvest

Begin planning "Scarborough Fair" fundraising event

Continue work on marketing and sales strategies



Second honey harvest

Begin manufacture of honey and herb products as recommended by recipe testing team

Prepare garden area for installation of garden plan

Begin promotion of Scarborough Fair fundraising event

Continue work on marketing and sales strategies



Continue promotion of Scarborough Fair fundraising event

Evaluate progress and identify next steps


why we're doing it

Friends of Thistle Farms is building a business to benefit survivors of prostitution and trafficking. Because the women we seek to serve have histories of childhood sexual abuse, rape, and violence of all kinds, and because many have done time in prison, we recognize that the obstacles to getting and keeping a job are monumental. Our project affirms economic wholeness as a necessary component of healing.


UPDATED BUDGET (as of 8/15/16):

Uncapping tank $540.00

Bucket heater 109.00

60 lb buckets (10) 84.50

Cheesecloth (5) 42.25

Shipping UPS 209.25

Motorized centrifuge extractor (used) 260.00

Hive materials (10) 740.00 (hive bodies, bottom boards, frames, outer covers)

Frames top feeder (10) 159.90

Paint (for hives) 52.62

Misc equipment 154.40 (smoker, brush, hive tools, frame rests, frames)

Yard cart 129.00

Toward the purchase of 10 nucs @ 140.00. 1,031.70

TOTAL 3,512.62 




RAISED = $3,653.00
ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
 Payment Processing Fee (3%) $105.38

Uncapping tank                   MOO370                   $540.00

Refractometer                      MOO594                   $260.00

Bucket heater                       MO567                      $109.00

60 lb buckets (10)                MOO212                    $84.50

Cheesecloth (5)                    MOO493                    $42.25

Shipping UPS Ground                                             $348.15

Subtotal                                                                 $1,383.90*                                                                                                                               

Gas blower from Lowes                                            $299.00

TOTAL                                                                   $1,682.90


Storage shed                                                              1,829.72

TOTAL                                                                    $3,512.62

*These items ordered from                                            


Motorized radial extractor $1,295
Stainless steel uncapping tank $460
Sideliner Uncapper $1,295
Stainless steel bottling tank $1,195
Digital Refractometer $350
TOTAL COST: $4,595.00

SUBTOTAL = $4,595
ioby Platform Fee  $35
3rd Party Payment Processing Fee (3%) $138



Our Hives and Our Gratitude

Much has changed since we started this IOBY campaign in the summer of 2015. We have a new name, Thistle & Bee. We now have three garden locations with two apiaries. We sell produce at the Overton Park's Farmer Market on Thursdays. Please visit our website and Facebook page for more updates!

In May 2016, we installed new hives at St Columba and fed the bees at Church of Annunciation. We had wonderful help particularly from our terrific volunteer beekeeper, Mills Polatty! Thank you for the materials and the supplies to make this possible. Here are some photos from our day:

Picking up the bees Volunteer Beekeepers    

Thank You!

Donated equipment!

Our project is a dynamic one, and we are constantly being challenged to adjust our carefully laid plans! We had foreseen 2 honey harvests--in June and August. But bees, we have learned, work on their own timetable, not ours! So we are getting ready for our first harvest next Saturday, August 22, and looking forward to a second one later in the fall.

We are very excited and grateful to a beekeeper extraordinaire who sold us some of the harvesting equipment we need at bargain basement prices. Other items were donated outright. These unexpected gifts are making it possible to add a small "honey house" to our wish list. This structure will allow us to have designated harvesting space and a safe place to store the equipment when not in use. 

Stay tuned for photos of our harvest! 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Suzanne Ratliff
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