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Episode 138: Dr. Erica Shelley

Dr. Erica Shelley is a beekeeper scientist and the founder of Best for Bees. Sara and Marshall sit down with Dr. Shelley for a fascinating discussion about invention, healthier beehives and new bee vectoring technology, mentorship, community connections, and a life spent with bees.

Episode 138: Dr. Erica Shelley

Sara: Welcome to Bonn Park, I'm Sara Geidlinger.

Marshall: And I'm Marshall Ward.

Erica: And I'm Dr. Erica Shelley, a beekeeper scientist from Best for Bees.

Sara: Dr. Erica Shelley, thank you so much for joining us.

Erica: Thank you for having me.

Sara: We are super excited to talk to you.

Sara: This is a topic that Marshall and I are goo goo ga ga about.

Sara: Bees.

Sara: You are out there saving the world.

Erica: I have a company, Best for Bees.

Erica: We've been in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for about eleven years now.

Erica: We started out as just little and I say we it was really me at that point, just teaching about beekeeping to the community, trying to do healthier beekeeping with less chemicals inside hives.

Erica: And then it just kind of snowballed into the next thing was people were like, hey, can you take care of my hives or help me take care of the hives?

Erica: And I was like, oh, yeah, I can share my knowledge with you.

Erica: And then it was companies coming to me and saying, hey, we would love to have hives on our rooftops or at our locations.

Erica: So we have hives.

Erica: Our first big rooftop hives were Manulife over on King Street.

Erica: They've been there.

Erica: Gosh, I want to say five years or so.

Erica: And we have hives at the Kitchener Public Library.

Erica: We're putting hives up on Google this coming summer and then some smaller businesses as well.

Erica: And that was kind of that next step.

Erica: And then just people talk.

Erica: And we started doing research for seed companies and farmers looking at honeybee health.

Erica: And this is where there was an intersection between me as a beekeeper and me as a scientist.

Erica: And I never had imagined I would get into beekeeping.

Erica: Probably the same reason that the majority of people get into beekeeping.

Erica: I just wanted honey.

Erica: And I was like, oh, it'll help the bees, too.

Erica: But honey really was the big motivator.

Erica: And then all of a sudden, the science background that I had was turning out to be really useful to do these studies in terms of honeybee health.

Erica: The University of Guelph recruited me to help out with a project they called the Inspencing project.

Erica: And it was Dr. Peter Kevin at the University of Guelph who I'd known from being on the Board of Bee City in Kitchener.

Erica: And he tried for a couple of years to get me to come work on this project.

Erica: And I finally had some time and I told him, hey, you know what?

Erica: I can come do that if I get to work on this other special project you have going on in the lab.

Erica: And that project was working with bumblebees using touchscreen technology.

Erica: So I really was interested in that.

Erica: The other project was I was kind of, like, not super excited about.

Erica: And then I wrote grants for that project, and that project is the one that's actually just blown up.

Erica: And it's because we've invented an entirely new technology that is going to improve honeybee health and intern native pollinators as well, because they all drink from the same cup.

Erica: A lot of people say, oh, you're saving the wrong bees.

Erica: And you're like, well, if you have one sick person at a party, they can get everybody sick, right?

Erica: So you need to make sure that one person who's sick isn't sick anymore.

Erica: And then we can actually improve the health of, again, these native pollinators.

Erica: So saving the bees, I know it's a big goal, but that's what Best for Bees is planning on doing.

Sara: This is not the path that I thought when I asked you, okay, tell us about what you do when we come to your house or your office or see you online.

Sara: It's all bees.

Sara: It's the bee socks, bee mug, bee painting, “bee good” is always with two e's or “bee safe” in your emails.

Sara: It's all bees.

Sara: So I just assumed you were just bees your whole life, and you went and got that PhD and you were just going to keep running to save the world, one bee at a time, one hive at a time.

Sara: But you fell into it from a hobby.

Sara: And I think that's such a beautiful thing, Marshall.

Sara: And I find that the hobbies can sometimes be what you're actually supposed to do.

Erica: Yeah.

Erica: You know what I tell people that I feel like my life with bees has been like when you drive through the city and you hit every green light.

Erica: Yeah, that's what I feel like.

Erica: Every turn, new doors open, and there is no other way for me to explain it as this is what I am supposed to be doing.

Erica: Every time I need something or I put it out into the world or even things I don't even realize, it just comes to me like it's been easy.

Erica: And I know sometimes people have to really struggle.

Erica: Now I work twelve hour days, seven days a week.

Erica: So when I say easy, I mean that the obstacles have not been hard other than the requirement of my time.

Erica: But the serendipitous moments that happen with this have just been incredible.

Erica: And I explain it in terms of you jump on a tube into a river and you don't actually know where you're going.

Erica: There's these curves and everything, but you just kind of let things guide you in the way to go instead of forging a path that would be difficult.

Erica: And so in terms of just riding this river, this is where it's taken me to this place where I'm having conversations with people in Australia, like, every other day and people from around the world and the biggest experts.

Erica: And it's not something that as somebody who does have my PhD, like, I had my PhD by the time I was 25.

Erica: So I was the person who had planned out every single step of my education, and I knew exactly what I was going to do.

Erica: But in recent years, I've just allowed myself to kind of listen to where I need to go instead of deciding where I need to go.

Marshall: The first time I heard about bees on top of a building was a couple of years ago when I saw Connoisseur Mall had bees, but I don't think I ever understood why are the tops of buildings a good place for bees to be?

Marshall: What's the benefits to bees being on rooftops of buildings?

Erica: Well, in these situations, a lot of times, these companies, they want to educate their employees about sort of the environment and ways that they can improve their environment.

Erica: So having the bees there opens up the discussion.

Erica: Like at the Kitchener Public Library, people can see the bees.

Erica: It starts the conversation about why are these important, what can we do to help the bees and so forth.

Erica: So having them on rooftops, that just happens to often be in terms of these locations, what they have available for places to keep the bees.

Erica: And oftentimes, for example, our manufacture hives there's, like these beautiful ponds down to below, and then there's just even on the side of highways, there's so much forage for bees.

Erica: It's just these great spaces for the bees to go over by Google.

Erica: They've actually got the train tracks there.

Erica: So you've got these huge areas for foraging for the bees as well.

Erica: So it's not necessarily always just that the rooftop is great.

Erica: It's that outreach education component of it and also access to lots of food for the bees.

Marshall: I'm not sure what bees’ predators are, but I imagine they're pretty safe up there, too.

Sara: Erika knows.

Sara: She knows the list of predators.

Sara: Do you want to hear them?

Erica: Well, in general, Wasps in the fall, wasp get where they actually want a lot of sugar before they just don't have any food sources feed off of, I want to say, larvae that produces sugar for them for the year.

Erica: But then the Queen, she quits laying the larvae, so they lose their food source within the wasp nest.

Erica: And so they start rating other sugar sources.

Erica: And we all know about that, right in our backyards, they start coming after our food, and they're looking both for sugar and protein.

Erica: And beehives are amazing.

Erica: They can just go in and have themselves a little buffet of sugar.

Erica: And the larvae, the baby bees that are inside the hive in terms of other predators, we get skunks, they'll knock on the hives, and then the bees come out to check what's going on, and then they'll eat the bees.

Erica: So skunks can be problematic.

Erica: Up north, bears just tear the entire hives apart.

Erica: So they're kind of some other predators, but bees biggest danger, actually, it's super teeny, tiny things.

Erica: So there's a pest called the varroa mite, and it sucks on the fat of the bees during development, and it transmits all sorts of diseases that will impact the health of the hive.

Erica: For example, one of the diseases is deformed wing virus, where if the Bee gets it can't fly, it just has, like, this exoskeleton of wing, but nothing in between that would allow it to fly or it's all shriveled up, that kind of thing or the dangers.

Erica: It's not really a predator, it's parasites.

Erica: But those are actually the biggest threat to honeybees, at least in actually most of the world, except Australia, which doesn't have to struggle with the varroa mite.

Erica: But.

Erica: Yeah.

Marshall: So, Erica, tell us about the product that you've made here and what it has to do with protecting bees and Bee health.

Erica: Yeah.

Erica: So my product we named Protected.

Erica: We've actually used our community here to come up with names and colors and slogans and everything.

Erica: So it's been a real community building product, which has been great because the entire community is behind what we've been doing.

Erica: So Protective E was one of the names that was given, and actually, everybody kind of voted, and that was the name we went with with Protected E.

Erica: And Protected E originally was developed for technology that we call bee vectoring.

Erica: And bee vectoring is very simple.

Erica: It's basically if a bee walks through a powder, that powder sticks to them, much like pollen.

Erica: And then as they visit, wherever they visit, they leave bits of that powder behind.

Erica: So bee vectoring is used already in terms of treating crops for different pests and diseases.

Erica: So strawberries and blueberries, they have molds that grow on them.

Erica: They have different pests that they have to deal with.

Erica: And so bees walk through a powder that contains a fungus.

Erica: And the fungus, when they walk through it, then they go and they visit the flowers of, for example, the strawberries, and they leave bits of the fungus behind.

Erica: And that fungus, actually, it's already in the soil, so we're not bringing anything in that wouldn't already be present.

Erica: And the fungus will actually grow on the flower and keep other fungus molds and pests away.

Erica: So it just occupies the space.

Erica: And so that bee vectoring technology that was going out to crops, Peter Kevin at the University of Guelph, he actually invented it 30 years ago.

Erica: So he came up with the idea about ten years ago.

Erica: Bee Vectoring Technologies that's in Mississauga adapted his technology, and now it's out there in the world for delivering these fungus to crops.

Erica: Peter was like, well, if I can do it out to crops, why can't we do it into a Beehive?

Erica: Right.

Erica: And maybe this fungus can do the same thing.

Erica: It can grow on these varroa mites that we were talking about.

Erica: And there's other pests beetles and that kind of thing that are also problematic inside of a hive.

Erica: Yeah, that was his idea.

Erica: And he brought me in and he said, here's a thing we have.

Erica: And it was this big tray you had to lift up the whole hive and put under.

Erica: It had all these little ramps.

Sara: And I've seen you lifting highs.

Sara: It's not an easy job.

Sara: This is hard work.

Erica: Oh, a hive.

Erica: Like, if you were lifting it's 100 pounds.

Sara: You do it in pieces in the different styles.

Sara: Yes.

Erica: But the bottom part is 100 pounds at the end of summer.

Erica: So if you're like taking this thing in and out, and not only that, it opened up the opening even more so wasps and stuff could get in a little bit more easily.

Erica: And we had a two year grant based on using this ramp prototype.

Erica: And we did our first experiments with me and I had a couple of research assistance, and we were just like, this is not going to work.

Erica: And I will admit I was ready to cry at that point because I was like, how am I going to do these experiments over two years if the bees aren't even doing what they're supposed to be doing?

Erica: And that's where we say the necessity is the mother of invention.

Erica: So I had to come up with something.

Erica: I reached out to little Facebook groups of beekeeping and told them some of the things.

Erica: And people kind of threw all different sorts of ideas at me.

Erica: And we were already using kind of a funnel idea with another project that we were doing in the lab for vectoring out to crops.

Erica: So all this kind of was in my subconscious.

Erica: And then, of course, one night I wake up, which is like every adventure.

Sara: I guess, when the brain has a chance to rest and these ideas come to purpose because of what I did.

Erica: I bolted straight up in bed and I was like, cones.

Erica: If I use cones, I can direct the traffic in and out and they won't be able to carry the powders out.

Erica: And, yeah, that was how that was born.

Erica: And so we tested the cone technology over two years, and with the bees are vectoring, it great.

Erica: I've made different kinds of modifications that actually, if you go to our site, you will not see the modifications.

Erica: So that's sort of our patent pending portion of it.

Erica: And then we had beta testing by beekeepers.

Erica: So originally all we were going to do was protect these bees from.

Erica: And I shouldn't say all like this varroa mite.

Erica: And then there's actually bacteria, American falvary, like all these normal things that are these teeny, tiny predators.

Erica: But when we had the beekeepers test our product, they said, the skunks aren't bugging my hives anymore.

Erica: With that on there.

Erica: The other ones were like, I was having all these wasp issues, but the Wasps aren't actually able to get in there either.

Erica: They're colored red and wasp can't see the color red.

Erica: Right.

Erica: And it also moves away from the food source, so the smell is not as strong.

Erica: And that was like this AHA, moment, like, oh, my gosh.

Erica: Even though we'd already named it protected Bee because we were doing the bee factoring, we now had something that was actually protecting the bees from all the little teeny tiny things.

Erica: And then the bigger things, too.

Erica: And we realized, too, before we even had gotten everything done with bee vectoring that we could release it to beekeepers because we had that physical device that would actually protect the bees from these bigger critters.

Sara: And this is like so for non beekeepers or non, you know, be curious, be bubble.

Sara: The bottom of the hive is normally sort of a piece of wood with a cut out opening where the bees will enter and exit or if you're shutting down the hive, as I've learned, just a solid piece.

Sara: But this is something that the bees glue shut with.

Sara: What did they glue shut?

Sara: And you have to crack all of these things open very often.

Sara: They're sort of like different sizes.

Sara: It's not necessarily a perfect science, even though the bees are perfect scientists and engineers.

Sara: But this little system, this protected Bee thing is like, hey, bees in here, out here.

Sara: And then I learned this crazy thing when I was filming.

Sara: We'll get to that part later is that the bees will actually carry their dead out of the exit and keep their hive clean.

Sara: I didn't realize the bees did this.

Sara: I never crossed my mind what they might do with dead bees.

Sara: So they're doing all this hard work and keeping them out, and then they're talking to each other and they know which way to go.

Sara: It's wild.

Sara: And then this is like a lightweight.

Sara: Sorry, it sounds like I'm selling, but it's like a lightweight, easy to slide in and out drawers system.

Sara: Tell me if I'm getting any of this wrong instead of this, like, big piece of wood that you have to crack in and out of this hive and disrupt everything.

Erica: Yeah.

Erica: To have as many products as it would take to prevent the robbing and to do the bee vectoring and to do what you're talking about, the entrance reduction, which we do in the winter, or if there are issues, we're taking like five or six products and we put them all in one.

Erica: We call it all in one device.

Erica: And yeah, it literally just hangs on the front, so there's zero disturbance to the hive.

Erica: So basically what it does is it makes the bees happier.

Erica: It makes our beekeepers it makes it easier for them just to do everything.

Erica: And as we get into this bee vectoring portion, we have a lot of people that become beekeepers, but they don't understand that when they're lifting kind of heavy a honey box of 60 pounds once it's full, 100 pounds for those brood boxes.

Erica: If they're full of honey, they're not usually quite that heavy.

Erica: And they don't realize that every time they open it, the bees are going to get a little agitated and they may not even know what they're doing.

Erica: There's a lot of complication around it that by putting this on the front, we've made it easy.

Erica: And our system also includes mentorship where we'll be telling people what to do, when to do it and how to do it and why we're going to be integrating the science and really just making it easy.

Erica: We call people who get bees and don't really take care of their bees.

Erica: We call them Bee Havers.

Erica: And what we want to do is we want to take those Bee Havers and make them beekeepers, because Bee Havers are just as dangerous to bees as, you know, unhealthy bees, because if you're just having your bees and you're not monitoring their health, they are in agricultural.

Erica: They're not like just wild bees that are in a tree kind of thing.

Erica: They have to be taken care of because they honestly have not evolved very well in our systems.

Erica: Right.

Erica: So having sick bees means that if my neighbor has sick bees, then my bees are getting sick and the native bees are getting sick.

Erica: So we want to turn these Bee Havers into beekeepers and the protective system.

Erica: And I don't mean to sound like I'm selling this, but.

Sara: It'S your creative.

Erica: But it does that we will be able to turn those Bee Havers into beekeepers.

Erica: And that's how we're going to improve the health of all these is by basically leveling up all of our beekeepers so that they're doing the right things.

Sara: So I want to go way back.

Sara: I do this on every show, don't I, Marshall?

Sara: I just feel like going back and connecting all the dots.

Sara: But I want to go way back and talk about earlier when you were talking about green lights and serendipity in your life and I briefly mentioned filming, we met.

Sara: So strangely, you put a call out on Facebook, which I'm never on.

Sara: I'm sitting right here on a beautiful, sunny day late in the fall.

Sara: It was a very warm day, and I was struggling and focusing on the work at hand.

Sara: And somebody put out this call for a photographer.

Sara: You needed a photographer or filmer that day, and someone take me in it and I don't answer those ever.
Sara: There's so many of those that float around, and it's usually like, it'd be good for your exposure.

Sara: There's no payment offered or anything.

Sara: But I trusted the person that tagged me, and I thought, I'm going to reach out and see.

Sara: And we talked very quickly.

Sara: And within hours, I was at your house filming, and we had a great time.

Sara: And you left me alone with the bees.

Sara: You gave me the hat with the net, had an awesome time filming.

Sara: You were a little secretive about the product that was going out there because it hadn't been launched yet and everything.

Sara: And then, you know, weeks later, we realized we share Meals on Wheels route.

Sara: Bizarre.

Sara: I just changed my route this year.

Sara: You just changed your route this year.

Sara: And we alternate every week we share it's bizarre.

Sara: And it happened because the client mentioned, oh, I thought you were so and so.

Sara: And I was like, so and so who I just met this person.

Sara: So strange.

Sara: So very strange.

Sara: And the next time that you needed me, same thing.

Sara: I happened to be free that day, happened to be able to come and meet you.

Erica: And then of that same day.

Sara: I was supposed to go and make a business decision and deposit that was going to cost me and Marshall some money.
Sara: And you're like, oh, I just did that myself.

Sara: I'll tell you how I was like, what it's like every little step along the way has been unlike any other really connection that I've had with this type of work.

Sara: But I'm very proud to be part of the project and have been able to lend some filming and get to know you better because I've learned so much about what happens.

Sara: And even just when I've seen you handle hives, I've seen I don't know, maybe I'm paying more attention now, too, but I've seen some videos where people are getting in there to harvest their honey or they're doing some work and they're like, they're really manhandling these things and throwing them around.

Sara: And I have seen you delicately take one little Bee and say, come on, honey, we're going back in.

Sara: I've seen you and how you treat these bees.

Sara: And it is different than what I personally have witnessed out in the rest of the world.

Sara: You have this real passion for it.

Sara: So I guess all of this to say, just like you were talking about these green lights since you switched over to bees and the serendipitous path that you've had, what were you going to do with this PhD previous to bees, you said you planned out all your education, this was going to be your path.

Sara: And then bees just kind of happened to you.

Erica: Yes.

Erica: So first of all, I want to go back to you coming out during those calls.

Erica: We were done by the end of September, mid October.

Erica: The bees don't fly anymore.

Erica: Right there's.

Erica: Getting too cold.

Erica: The bees don't fly.

Erica: And we realized that we were going to go to market, and we had no footage for two years.
Erica: We had all this cool stuff.

Erica: But my research assistants, me, we just weren't people who filmed a whole lot of things.

Erica: So we were kind of stuck that we didn't have this footage going into this next place.

Erica: And then we were gifted, like, really gifted.

Erica: Just this crazy warm one day.

Erica: One day.

Sara: It was really one day.

Erica: And it was so warm and so beautiful.

Erica: And just the fact that I was like, oh, my gosh, I need to film.

Erica: And I actually reached out to a couple of people that I had known, had done some filming, and they weren't available.

Erica: And yeah, just the fact that I put it out there and you were at my house in like half an hour, and you are so joyful.

Sara: I was really happy to be out of the house and doing something interesting.

Erica: You just sat out there because I was working.

Erica: I had work to do, and I kept looking, and you were still out there.

Erica: You just were so passionate about what you were doing.

Erica: And I could just see how happy you were.

Erica: And you were like, I can come back tomorrow.

Sara: And I did.

Sara: I had to because it was still going to be warm.

Sara: And I accidentally I don't leave my stuff anywhere.

Sara: Marshall sees me to pack up my stuff.

Sara: I'm very careful.

Sara: I left my tripod in your backyard and had to come back anyway, which is bizarre also.

Erica: Yeah.

Erica: And there's like, a saying, I think like a Polish thing, where if you leave something behind, it means that you want to come back.

Erica: Yeah.

Marshall: And I would say Sara always goes the extra mile to get things right.

Erica: Oh, my gosh, she really does.

Erica: Really does.

Erica: I have to say, our footage was so much, I couldn't access it.

Erica: She's just phenomenal.

Erica: Like, just such a great experience working with you,

Sara: That's actually true.

Sara: That's where you can find me or sitting in the spot waiting for people to Facebook message me for fun products.

Erica: Apparently, which you don't do.

Erica: But then it happened again.

Erica: Right.

Erica: And that was in December.

Sara: That was in December.

Erica: December.

Erica: And I still didn't have like, we wanted some footage with this actor beekeeper, and we were going to fly down to the States.

Erica: And then we had the resurgence of COVID, and I was like, I can't fly an entire film crew down to the States.

Erica: I'm going to have to cancel this.

Erica: And literally that day when we realized we were going to have to cancel that trip, the very next day was another warm day, and I just sent Sarah a message, and she's like, again, like, I don't know, an hour later or whatever.

Erica: She's got everything ready, right?

Erica: It was all right.

Erica: She was like, I'm going to do it from this angle, this angle, this angle.

Erica: And just so much.

Erica: Great footage.

Sara: Thank you so much.

Sara: I had a lot of fun doing it.

Marshall: Was the plan originally as they're asked to study spiders or something else.

Sara: Yeah, right.

Sara: We were talking about what you were going, cool.

Sara: Okay.

Erica: So if we go way back.

Erica: I went to Johns Hopkins University, which is like ridiculously priced University.

Erica: And I worked with some of the greatest geneticists of all time, people who were pioneers in the field of genetics.

Erica: So I actually have my PhD in molecular and medical genetics.

Erica: I studied cancer.

Erica: I did cancer research on DNA repair.

Erica: And the organism that I actually studied in was Geese Sacrifice Service, which is a fungi.

Erica: You can see how this all kind of came together.

Erica: So I was a fungus expert and I'm now working with fungi.

Erica: Who would have known that what I chose to do for my graduate project would have come to this.

Erica: But I had my first kid right at the end of graduate school, very planned.

Erica: So no accidents.

Erica: I would say all of my kids were planned.

Erica: Everything's been like planned.

Erica: There are no accidents.

Erica: And so talking about myself meandering on a river is like a whole new thing.

Erica: But I had my first son and I was working in a lab with a postdoc who had homeschooled his kids.

Erica: So I actually homeschooled my kids for about 20 years.

Erica: So that's what I was doing.

Erica: And in the meantime, I was a doula for 13 years.

Erica: I had worked for an outdoor climbing company.

Erica: I taught at the University of Waterloo, at the University of Toronto, at Conestoga College.

Erica: I just basically picked up all sorts of different neat, fun jobs to supplement my income while I home schooled my kids.

Erica: And.

Erica: Yeah.

Erica: So I hadn't focused as much on the research.

Erica: Still tied in with that community, though I never left it, but not this strong research component.

Erica: So when I picked up beekeeping, it was because we went to a little homeschool presentation of somebody who had bees.

Sara: And you're like, I can do that.

Erica: I honestly had never thought of keeping bees before that moment.

Erica: It wasn't like it was in the back of my head and I needed someone to introduce.

Erica: No, I went there and I was like, honey, I love honey.

Erica: I'm going to order some bees.

Erica: So I left and called and ordered two packages.

Erica: Well, nukes of bees is what we call them.

Erica: Not at all planned.

Erica: And so when you talk about what was my background, I was a geneticist.

Erica: This is no entomology.

Erica: Now.

Erica: I've been studying these little critters for eleven years very closely, and that's become my passion.

Erica: But that was not at all the path that I started along.

Marshall: Wow.

Sara: Yeah.

Sara: It's funny.

Marshall: I thought we should end the podcast.

Sara: They're not going to, but.

Erica: Right.

Marshall: Yeah.

Sara: I told you this one would be fun.

Sara: And now you get to do this beautiful job that is not only really saving the world, if you think about it, right, saving the world, but it's time outdoors and it's time creating.

Sara: And I know it's a lot of, like probably grant writing and research and all that kind of stuff.

Sara: And you did say that you work these twelve hour days, seven days a week, but hand in hand with the green light theory that we were talking about.

Sara: Don't you find that the harder that you work, the more luck that you have because you're prepared, you're ready and things do fall into place?

Erica: Yeah, absolutely.

Erica: Well, I think a lot of that I cannot stress enough about those community connections.

Erica: And when I talk about green lights, a lot of those green lights are because I've built connections over all the previous years and people know how passionate I am about the bees and that while this is a business venture, they know where I'm coming from and in my heart that I really do want to save the bees and who can't get behind that, right?

Erica: There's this quote which might be slightly off, but one in three bites.

Erica: We can think of food security and it's not just about honey, right?

Erica: There's so much more to saving the bees because saving the bees is going to help us, right?

Erica: If the bees all died, we're not dying like there's some quote about that, that's not the case.

Erica: But our food choices would be a lot more boring and more expensive.

Erica: In Japan, they hand pollinate apples.

Erica: All those green lights, I think, are built on foundations also that I've built up over the years within our community.

Erica: I feel like I have kw behind me in this, like we have investors.

Erica: So people have put in just little chunks of money to help us move forward with our research and our advertising.

Erica: And it's because most people believe in me and what I believe in.

Erica: It's just been an incredible experience.

Erica: So, yeah, all the green lights, are they just happening?

Erica: No, they're because there's a lot of work that's happened in connecting with people and working hard and knowing my stuff, right.

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