Taking Back Appalachian Forests, One Bee at a Time
The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective sells honey and works to revive forests left scarred and abandoned by mines.
By Florence Fabricant
To replenish the rolling hills and once thickly forested woods of the Appalachian region after mines scraped them bare before shutting down takes time, effort and money. The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is part of it. Kate Asquith, the director of programs for its parent organization, Appalachian Headwaters, a nonprofit founded in 2016 and dedicated to environmental work, explained that the mine owners did not tend to the forests when they left. The collective, which was created in 2017, engages local residents, training them in beekeeping; since last fall, the honey has been sold as a fund-raiser. “Unlike a lot of honey companies we only sell what’s produced locally,” Ms. Asquith said. The beekeeping area is across several counties in West Virginia and Virginia. The raw honeys, including a slightly citric sourwood and a very floral tulip poplar, are $12 to $16 for 12 to 16 ounces. They are available online along with other items, including glass and pottery by local craftspeople.
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