This acreage will create opportunities for researchers to better understand the role of honeybees in diverse landscapes, ultimately informing and impacting the greater food ecosystem in the U.S.
ENCINITAS, CA (July 27, 2021) | -- Pass the Honey, makers of high-quality, conveniently portioned honeycomb and advocates for generational beekeepers, today announced it has secured a 500,000+ acre commitment to launch foundational research under its Regenerative Honeycomb Initiative (RHI). The project is aimed at supporting the U.S. honey industry in its production of unadulterated honeycomb while defining regenerative apiculture standards globally.
By 2035, Pass the Honey intends to create, restore, and enhance seven million acres of pollinator habitat throughout North America. By building collaborations between landowners and beekeepers, the team behind the project will create essential research opportunities to better understand the role of honeybees in diverse landscapes throughout the U.S.
The entire effort will study the impacts managed honeybees have on various ecosystems, such as resource competition and disease drift with native pollinators and floral diversity, as well as explore other potential benefits. Additionally, research will establish non-extractive honeycomb production methods and viable business models for beekeepers in a way that supports the health of ecosystems.
“As a catalyst in the honey industry and longstanding advocate for the health and vitality of our entire food system, we’ve witnessed first-hand the negative effects that come from commercial beekeepers’ financial dependence on pollinator services, including exposing their bees to disease, pesticides and other stressors, making it impossible for manufacturers to source clean honeycomb domestically,” said Douglas Raggio, Founder of Pass the Honey. “To partner with landowners on this scale, completely independent of the current commercial agricultural model, gives us the ability to research the impact of managed hives on native species, the co-creation of biodiverse ecosystems and the potential for large-scale carbon sequestration, in order to stabilize bee populations and evolve apiary practices beyond what’s perceived possible.”
These initial 500,000+ acres of forage zone were committed in partnership with private landowners using sustainable methods of timber harvesting and land management. This represents one of the largest private land commitments in the U.S. and creates a pivotal collaboration between landowners and beekeepers to carry out large-scale pollinator research on sustainably managed private, forested land.
Working in collaboration with Pass the Honey is Terra Genesis International to employ science and form partnerships with farmers, landowners, and academic institutions to clarify the role of managed honeybees in North American ecosystems. The team’s expertise in regenerative agriculture is helping to guide the research priorities and methods used across all RHI efforts.
“To live in a world where land-use practices are not harmful to pollinators will take time, collaboration, and considerable effort,” said Tim Tensen, Partner at Terra Genesis. “This effort directly confronts the failure of North American agroecosystems to account for the well-being of pollinators and is initiating necessary conversations that address the counterproductive division between humans and nature, between productive landscapes and conservation landscapes Humans are the problem, but we can also be the solution.”
As part of its efforts within RHI, Pass the Honey aims to confront extractive practices harming apiculture, which leads to the adulteration of honey, by introducing regenerative practices that respect the limitations of the supply system, especially bees and beekeepers. To advance toward this future, the RHI will:
- Implement scientifically supported regenerative honeycomb quality standards and practices. Beekeepers managing RHI hives and research partners will determine maximum thresholds for chemicals harmful to bees and pollinators, set benchmarks for colony and queen health, and establish practices for honeycomb production in different environments such as farmland and forest land.
- Study the effects of regenerative apiculture on the environment. Focus will be on native pollinator species, functional biodiversity (vegetation), and climate change mitigation in the form of soil and biomass carbon sequestration.
Independently, Pass the Honey uses third-party, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) testing to confirm their “snacking honey” meets the standards the company aims to normalize. This NMR testing is the most rigorous testing in the world and is used to ensure the company’s honeycomb suppliers adhere to practices that meet or exceed current frameworks for its regenerative apiculture.
Since Pass the Honey was unable to consistently source North American honeycomb free from agricultural chemicals, its pre-portioned snacking honey is currently sourced from third-generation Turkish beekeepers using natural beekeeping practices and manage bees in areas that are free from chemical exposure. However, the company will not be harvesting honeycomb produced in RHI hives. Instead, it hopes research conducted will contribute to creating successful regenerative management practices that will become the global standard for honey and honeycomb production.
“We know too well how endangered both bees and domestic beekeepers are,” said Raggio. “Each is immensely necessary for a functioning food system, and we need to look at new foundational models to enact change. With this initiative, we hope to establish regenerative practices that stabilize bee colonies and provide a new value-retentive business model for beekeepers to thrive.”
About Pass the Honey
Pass the Honey is a purpose-driven purveyor of snacking honey in the form of pre-portioned, convenience honeycomb. Snacking honey profits directly fund pollinator research through the company’s Regenerative Honeycomb Initiative. Leveraging science and collaborating with regenerative pioneers, Pass the Honey is dedicated to securing a bright future for bees, beekeepers, and vibrant ecosystems globally.