THE Jimboomba owner of Bee All Natural, Natasha Roebig has her sights set on bringing her passion for beekeeping to the wider community.
Ms Roebig - who was named a national finalist for the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award after winning the Queensland title - plans to establish a facility for the public to try their hand at beekeeping. The space would also support people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, building on beekeeping's emerging use as a therapeutic tool.
"There are so many benefits to beekeeping, such as pollination for food and crops, gardens, extraction of fresh honey to sell and consume, the use of the natural beeswax for various products," Ms Roebig said.
"Our facility is a safe space for all beekeepers being budding or experienced, it's a platform to discuss procedures and regulatory information updates and it's a conduit for professional bodies such as AgriFutures Australia to educate beekeepers on agricultural technology and data analysis communication."
Along with husband Jason, Ms Roebig also plans to deliver training to schools, enabling vocational students to learn about bees. Credits earned could help students apply for undergraduate agriculture and apiculture studies.
"Beekeeping is our future, it's also everyone's responsibility to ensure we're protecting our bees," she said.
"We are also planning our next venture of building a Bee Bus, essentially a bus that travels to schools and community centres."
The bus will contain virtual and augmented reality technology allowing students to see through the eyes of a bee as it travels through a hive.
Ms Roebig said since becoming involved in beekeeping in 2013 - when she stumbled across honey as a natural skin remedy - she had noticed a lack of women and young people in the industry.
People tend to think of (a beekeeper as) an older gentleman in a bee suit, holding a smoker somewhere on a farm.Natasha Roebig
"I would prefer people think of beekeeping as an activity all people can do, regardless of where they are.
"It's everyone's responsibility to ensure we...protect our bees. With the help of our mentors and industry bodies, we (work to) secure the future of Australia's beekeeping industry."