“My objective is that of my foundation: to live in tune with the bees and their needs; to educate and raise the awareness of our youth by receiving students at the apiary school or by visiting their classrooms.”
Stéphanie Vuadens, a professional beekeeper in the canton of Geneva, founded Les Miels de Stéphanie in 2016. She is passionate about her bees and working in harmony with nature to obtain quality honey. In 2019, Stéphanie strengthened her commitment to nature and biodiversity with the creation of the Fondation Arche des Abeilles, a non-profit foundation whose main missions are to save bees and raise awareness among young people.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about ‘Les Miels de Stéphanie’?
My name is Stéphanie Vuadens, I am a professional beekeeper in the canton of Geneva. I founded Les Miels de Stéphanie in 2016 and the Fondation Arche des Abeilles in 2019, a non-profit foundation whose main missions are to save bees and raise awareness among young people.
What makes your profession so unique?
Bees, bees and more bees, they are surprisingly sweet and unique, like their honey. They alone master the craft of honey making. I have absolutely no control over their work and the honeys I put into jars. Based on the flowers they gather, the places they visit and the seasons of the year, they produce a perfect and unique honey each time. The honeys they produce rarely have the same colour, smell or taste from one place to another and from one season to another. This is why my honeys are named after villages and not flowers. But what makes my work really unique is that it helps to pollinate our flowers, which in turn produce fruit and vegetables. Bees are the basis of life, of our life.
What made you decide to dedicate your life to bees?
I did not spontaneously become involved with bees; they came to me. When a swarm appeared in my garden in 2013, I first had to deal with fear and prejudice. Before long, I became fascinated by and passionate about bees. A passion so consuming that I left the pharmaceutical industry, in which I had been active for 19 years, to make beekeeping my profession and my full-time activity.
What advantages do you see in the EasyGov online platform?
The EasyGov platform offers many advantages to simplify and facilitate the administrative tasks of small companies like mine. I also plan to build a honey house, a building totally adapted to my activity and to my particular and methodical approach to beekeeping. I’m thinking of using EasyGov’s financing assistance service and accessing bank loans, which will be a great help in implementing this project.
What do you see as the future opportunities and risks for your line of work?
First of all, the risks linked to our behaviour: we are moving around more and more, which encourages the introduction of new parasites whose activity has harmful consequences for our bees and their environment. And finally, climate change, which is endangering not only our bees, but also all biodiversity. My objective and that of my foundation is to live, accompany, nurture and protect our bees and to intervene at the rhythm of their needs, not the other way round!
Additional fun question: As a beekeeper, do you eat bread with honey every day?
My farmer grandmother taught me how to eat well: she turned me into an epicurean. The simplest pleasures are often the best. I enjoy a slice of Valais nut bread with a little butter and a full-bodied honey from the July harvest as a snack, or on a weekend mornings – a real treat!
But I also love it on cheese, yoghurt, fruit salad with mint leaves, figs, and my absolute favourite, on a pancake or a honey-lemon waffle.
There is only one rule to follow: I use raw honey only, as this is the only way to preserve all its beneficial properties.