Is there anything more sustainable than supporting the very creatures that pollinate the local fruits and vegetables we love so much? We don’t think so! In the 2nd edition of the UMass Healthy and Sustainable Food System blog series, we’ll dive into the importance of local beekeeping, the global declining honeybee population crisis and our efforts to support this crucial component of our regional food system by sourcing local honey from Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, Ma.
Let’s Bee-gin! Ok, we’ll stop with the puns now…
Honey production and beekeeping has a rich history in Massachusetts and are deeply engrained in our regional economy as a popular sweetener and crop production driver. Today, beekeeping and bee-pollination is needed more than ever, but faces significant challenges. The steady decline of managed beehives since WWII has been met with an increase in land dedicated to crops that rely on bee-pollination. That's why supporting local beekeepers and apiaries is so important.
Local beekeeping ensures that our local food system is self-sustainable and allows local farmers and beekeepers to ensure their livelihood.
The Bee Crisis
There is a good chance you’ve heard about the declining honeybee population. Recent documentaries and reports have focused on the worldwide phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when worker bees disappear and abandon the hive. The cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is still somewhat contested but recent studies attribute it to the heavy use of pesticides.
By sourcing local honey, we are supporting beekeepers and farmers who are committed to the well being of their bees and the crops they pollinate!
Have a look at a portion of Warm Colors Apiary’s Mission Statement:
“Through selective breeding, integrated pest management, and the use of alternative, non-chemical treatments, we endeavor to create an apiary management system designed to eliminate sources of contamination to our products, honeybees and the farm environment.”
And It’s Good For You
The health benefits of honey have been documented dating back to ancient times (as far back as Aristotle!). Modern science has recently found that many of these historic health claims hold true!
How Can Local Honey Help You?
-It can cure your sore throat
-It can treat your seasonal allergies
-It can be an antiseptic and antibacterial treatment
Come Try Some!
On Wednesday March 26th, we will be featuring our favorite honey recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At 7pm, in the Hampshire Room, Dan Conlon, Co-Owner of Warm Color's Apiary will be giving a talk on beekeeping and honey production in Massachusetts.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.