A chat with Victor Hernández
When you were at Penta, you might have noticed our insect hotels, there to provide shelter and nesting facilities to insects. Sadly, over the past few years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains partly unknown. We want to help shape a sustainable future for this great globe and believe that every little bit counts.
That’s why we are happy to highlight as Mover & Shaker of the month the inspiring Victor Hernández, Kassel’s first official city beekeeper. His bee colonies live on roofs, in parks and in private gardens right in the middle of the city, where they benefit from an almost year-round supply of flowers and a wide variety of plants. As the first Kassel city honey apiary, Kasseler Stadthonig has already been awarded “Best Honey of the State of Hesse” multiple times, and Victor himself has been awarded the “City of Kassel's 2014 Nature Conservation Prize”. He is also involved in various education projects in schools, youth centres and social therapeutic institutions to introduce people to the world of bees. Read on to learn more and for a bit of fun too!
Penta: What do you think of garden gnomes?
Victor: Garden gnomes are a little curious, aren’t they? Very German. But why not if you like it? I would probably go for other design pieces in my garden.
P: Where do you feel most at home? Where is your ‘hood’?
V: I feel at home in Kassel – although I’m from East Westphalia and my family actually hails from Spain. But between North Holland (apiary) and New Holland (our home), I feel pretty comfortable.
P: Tell us about a project that is keeping you busy in this period.
V: About 10 years ago, I founded the first city apiary in Kassel in the Nordstadt, Holländische Straße 82. Now, we’re examining options for making our city apiary accessible to even more people, and visitors as well as bee and honey lovers. Our plans could possibly also enrich the gastronomic landscape of Kassel. But we are still very much at the beginning with this. But let’s not count our chickens before they hatch.
P: Who are your role models?
V: I appreciate two people very much for their work and their attitude. One is Joseph Beuys: "Every man is an artist (...) As he develops his abilities, he is an artist."
The second person is Ai Weiwei: "Nature is the greatest artist". I work with bees and therefore closely with nature. Still, I often stand in amazement before the wonder of nature and then think of Beuys and Ai Weiwei.
P: You have ten seconds to tell our readers why they should check you out.
V: Our city bees enable us to enjoy a remarkable natural experience: when we eat city honey, it’s like letting pure natural pleasure melt in our mouths. Also, they let us experience regional nature conservation in a very tangible way. If we are thinking about committing to environmental protection, breakfast with city honey we will know will manifest why it’s worth preserving bees and nature. Of course, I am already tirelessly committed to this.
P: Who is the last person you called?
V: My mother.
P: Pizza or burgers?
V: Pizza, but handmade. I like to know what I am eating.