Beekeeping non-profit gives low income communities a shot at sweet success

Bees in McDowell County hive
Bees in McDowell County hive(WVVA News)
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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MCDOWELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is based in Lewisburg. They gather honey from local beekeepers across Appalachia, bring it to Hinton to prepare it, then send it out. The collective provides training and beekeeping materials to more than 100 beekeepers at no cost to them. It’s an effort to help counties that are struggling economically.

“A lot of Southern West Virginia where we’re from, you know it was coal country. So a lot of those jobs got displaced and a lot of that is helping people find another source of income. For me, it saved me personally,” said ABC Peer Mentor, Johnathan Cox.

Cox has been beekeeping with the non-profit for over a year. He currently helps maintain hives in McDowell, Raleigh, Mercer and Tazewell counties. Adding there’s more to the job than just the honey.

“Bees pollinate over 85% of the crops that we eat so you know without bees we wouldn’t be able to live the lifestyle that we do. Because most of the crops that we eat, they’re invasive to the United States and to North America. So it makes sense that we bring pollinators with us,” said Cox.

Last year the non-profit produced more than 25,000 pounds of honey this year. That’s roughly 21, 55 gallon drums full of honey.

If you want to purchase your own locally produced honey from the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective you can visit their website here.