Many of us are deeply concerned about the declining numbers of bee colonies around the world, both because we love watching bees at work and because they are the major pollinators for most of our food crops. Major contributing factors include widespread use of pesticides and fungicides and parasitic mites in beehives. One of the ways we can help is by supporting small and local beekeepers, especially those practicing organic farming, both near our communities and around the world.
A large percentage of the imported honey sold in the US and Europe is produced by impoverished beekeepers in developing countries in Latin America and Asia. By purchasing Fair Trade Certified honey, you’re assuring that:
- Producers are small family farms organized in cooperatives (or associations) that they own and govern democratically.
- The minimum fair-trade price is paid directly to the producer cooperatives, allowing producers to cover their production costs.
- Environmental standards are in place to restrict the use of agrochemicals and ban genetically modified plants.
- Pre-harvest lines of credit are provided to the cooperatives if requested, up to 60 percent of the purchase price.
- No forced or child labor is involved.
- A fair-trade premium is included in the purchase price; the cooperatives choose how to use this additional support for social and economic investments, such as education, health services, processing equipment and loans to members.
Here are some great places to buy fair-trade honey:
BossBodyworks is an online Etsy store featuring natural products. The shop offers a variety of organic Fair Trade Certified and kosher (Earth Kosher) honey products for sale, many of which are flavored with natural herbs, such as cinnamon, cherry, fennel and turmeric.
GloryBee produces a variety of OU kosher-pareve-certified fair-trade organic honey products: a 12-ounce honey bear, a variety of HoneyStix and jars of raw honey. You can buy them online or find a local store that carries them.
Heavenly Organics gathers honey from naturally occurring wild beehives in India and the Himalayas. It is 100-percent raw organic (white, acacia or neem), Fair Trade Certified and OU-kosher certified. You can purchase online or use their store locator to find where to purchase the honey near you.
Trader Joes’ organic raw honey comes from beekeeping cooperatives in Mexico and is simply the uncooked “unadulterated nectar” of jungle wildflowers. It has Circle K (OK) kosher certification and is available in all their stores.
Wholesome Sweetener’s organic honeys (processed, raw, raw unfiltered), certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, come from fair-trade cooperatives in Mexico, so the farmers also receive a “sweet” and fair wage. You can find their products in many stores and online.