There’s more to the Next Generation of beekeepers than I originally realized. And I suppose one reason is because beekeeping is incredibly intertwined in our culture. I feel that commercializing it has had some detrimental effects. (With high potential solutions)
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Commercialization of beekeeping and any other good for that matter, has created a system of convenience at the price of quality. But what I would like to point out are the advantages of the Next Generation of beekeepers as outlined in my original post Beekeeping: the Next Generation.
Top 4 advantages of sustainable beekeeping
Higher quality products
Locally grown and produced goods require minimal upkeep compared to commercial means.
Commercial endeavors are more heavily saturated with chemicals and toxins. Many things like milk, juice and store bought honey are pasteurized, a process that results in zero vitamins.
Local producers of veggies, fruits and honey do not generally go through any type of processing and therefore retain all of their healthy qualities and benefits.
For example, the honey I produce is never heated. My customers are assured a raw, natural product free of any harsh chemicals and full of live vitamins & minerals.
Economically self-sustaining communities
By creating local goods like honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen or even fruits and veggies created in an ecological landscape, the Next Generation of beekeepers have an incredible chance at selling local goods locally.
It makes sense that by exchanging goods and money within a localized community that the community wins.
Anytime that goods leave a community, it is losing resources. By keeping resources local, the local economy and ecology are supported and eventually thrive from its own self-sustenance.
Local consumers are supporting their own community; beekeepers, veggie farmers, fruit farmers, dairy people, etc. when they buy local. Supporting small, local farmers is vital to individual communities.
Lower carbon footprints
It takes a lot of fossil fuels to package and ship products and goods across the country.
Naturally, an ecologically-minded beekeeper practicing sustainable methods is going to save thousands of miles worth of carbon footprints.
Let’s pretend that small towns here and there eventually have no need for trucks coming in with food supplies. This would mean that each member of the community produced enough of one or several items that they all need.
So a community would have their own farmers that provide things like: cows and butcher’ shops, beekeepers and honey, orchardists and fruit, farmers and veggies of all kinds locally supported, goat farmers and milk & cheese. The list goes on.
Cutting out the middle-man
There’s no surprise here. Whenever you handle and process a product less, it results in a higher quality product at a more affordable price.
I have a great example of this. In the area of Florida where I apprenticed, most beekeepers sell their honey by the drum to a ‘middle man’ in the form of a bottling company.
This company pays out a certain dollar amount per pound of honey depending on the color grade of the honey. At the moment, Orange blossom is selling for $2.50 a pound for a light amber color.
In contrast, in my area of north central Georgia, most beekeepers bottle their own honey and sell directly to the consumer at farmers markets and seasonal festivals. And as a result, they get much more reasonable price per pound for their honey.
The catch however is that they produce much less in quantity than Florida beekeepers with acres and acres of grove land.
It doesn’t happen overnight
I have owned my piece of Georgia property since 2013. I have had big dreams for food producing plants that produce something through most months of the year.
But circumstances haven’t allowed for me to even begin incorporating more plants until this year, six years later! My point is this: it can happen but only in baby steps.
And as a reminder- Ecological Landscaping is a way to make a living while regenerating the earth at the same time. Click below for more information.
It is possible to live self-sustainably but I believe that it must be a community effort. Not many people could do this completely alone.
But I’m okay with that because I don’t want to be a ‘Jack of all Trades.’ I want to focus on my strengths and dreams. This means that I must seek others in my community that provide the other things that I need for daily living. And by doing so, I am also supporting them and their efforts to make a living.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Especially if you would like to add to anything said here today. I read every message and reply as soon as I can because I really enjoy conversing with others and learning their perspective.
Until next time remember,
~Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee!~
Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire