The idea behind Haven Homestead is that we want to be able to produce all (or at least 75%) of our own food. That includes wanting to make our own sugar. Since sugar cane and sugar beets don't grow “well” here and since processing sugar from those can be tricky, we have decided that we want to raise honey bees.
Honey bees are great! The do all the work of processing the sugar, we just have to harvest it. They not only provide their beekeepers with honey, but they also help to pollinate a huge number of the plants that we eat every day.
The sad part is that bees are under attack. As more and more people enter the gardening arena, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are becoming more common. Instead of planting vegetables in guilds that support a healthy ecosystem, new gardeners look for the “easy way” of getting rid of garden pests. The trouble is that when you use PESTICIDES you aren't just getting rid of the pests, you are also getting rid of the beneficial insects, like honey bees, that would actually help your garden be more productive.
In order to further our venture in food production and environmental rehabilitation, I have started taking courses to become a Master Beekeeper! I'm so excited!
If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper too, check out your local university's extension office, or with your state's beekeeping association. Bees are such an integral part of our agricultural system that you won't have to look far!
Photo Credits: The first one is a Warre Hive taken by me here at Haven Homestead! The second one is one I googled, since I don't have my own bees yet, and is courtesy of Bees Hive, a blogging site for anyone who loves bees.