September is National Honey Month.
It’s an ideal time to celebrate honey and indulge in your craving for this sweet and viscous food known as “liquid gold.” While indulging, why not focus on local honey, or honey made as close as possible to your home? Here are five potent reasons to step away from the generic honey bear at your local supermarket and instead reach for a jar (or more!) of local honey.
1. Support your local beekeeper.
Each spoonful of local honey you use helps keep local beekeepers in business. Beekeepers are passionately committed to their bees but they’ve have been hit hard by Colony Collapse Disorder and steep competition from cheaper and inferior foreign honey (see reason # 5). Although there has been an uptick in hobbyist beekeepers, there are fewer commercial beekeepers and honeybee colonies than decades ago. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, in the U.S. alone, there’s been a serious drop in managed honeybee colonies from 6 million after WWII to as few as 2 million today.
2. Support local agriculture.
Having fewer local beekeepers threatens local agriculture. Since nearly one-third of the food we eat (nearly 100 commercial crops) relies on bees for pollination, we need to support local beekeepers. How will these crops get pollinated without the bees and the keepers that work with them? Also, when you use your food dollar to buy local honey, you strengthen your local economy.
3. Protect the environment.
Since local honey doesn’t have to travel far, you save energy, reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of packing materials used to transport the honey. This all ultimately helps our planet.
4. Cure your allergies.
Although the scientific research is lacking, anecdotal evidence suggests that local honey is a godsend for people with seasonal allergies. It should, naturally, come from hives within a few miles of where you live to ensure that it contains the allergens that cause you trouble.
Last but not least…
5. It’s safer.
According to the National Honey Board, honey contains micro such as vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants. But did you know some honey is tainted with illegal antibiotics? Yikes! Welcome to the world of “funny honey.” In 2008, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer issued a special report on honey laundering, a business “plagued with international intrigue, where foreign hucksters and shady importers sometimes rip off conscientious packers with Chinese honey diluted with cheap sugar syrup or tainted with illegal antibiotics.” With local honey, you avoid consuming antibiotic residue; you eat real undiluted honey and avoid supporting honey launders who dump “funny honey” into your area under false pretenses in order to evade paying taxes.
Want to find local honey? Visit www.honeylocator.com to find honey local to your area.
If you’ve got any additional reasons for buying local honey, would you share it with us in the comments section?