The new honeybees and the new beekeepers of Exuma were very busy during our first season of honey production. With lots of honey to harvest, we needed lots of help! Fortunately, our Discovery Club kids and a few junior beekeepers were excited to learn how to process and jar honey. In return they have an opportunity to learn how to be entrepreneurs as well.
Exuma Honey is available for a donation of $20 (8oz jar). Proceeds go to support the Beekeeping Initiative and the Discovery Club. Stop by our campus, the Resource Center, to pick up a jar. Makes a great gift!
The Beekeeping Initiative began with a workshop held at the Exuma Foundation in 2014 for a handful of interested people. Since then, we have hosted 2 more workshops and expanded the number of beekeepers to 10. The Bee Cause Project has played a big role in the initiative by providing workshop facilitation and guidance for the island's new beekeepers. They also donated an observation hive, which makes getting up close and personal with the bees safe and fun!
In 2015 the Exuma Foundation obtained permission from the Ministry of Agriculture to bring honeybees to the island in order to foster a cottage industry in the community. We have also been very fortunate to have the support of The Bee Cause Project which has given us the practical guidance and assistance to get the program up and running by facilitating workshops, advising and assisting in obtaining honeybees, and inspiring our first beekeepers. On our campus we now have an apiary and observation hive. In 2016, we harvested our first honey on the island and learned a lot about beekeeping! We are excited about the early success and interest, and there's a lot to look forward to! Click here to watch a video by the Sustainable Exuma Project about Ricky Munroe, a leader in the Beekeeping Initiative on Exuma.
Donations of Equipment! One thing we don't have on Exuma is easy access to tools and beekeeping equipment. So far, we have gone with Langstroth hives and have been keeping it simple in this way. We know there is great potential to produce a lot of honey in Exuma, so our needs for being able to process honey are going to increase. We are setting up a small honey house on our campus to make available to Exuma's beekeepers. We welcome equipment that might be useful to helping us put together a functional community honey house. To keep our bees in Exuma safe, we cannot accept any used hive equipment. If you would like to make a donation of equipment, please contact us. Thank you!
Although European honeybees were known to inhabit Great Exuma some years ago, we were not able to find any evidence that they existed here when we began the project. With proper permissions, we were then able to bring new Italian honeybees to the island and get our beekeepers started with gentle bees that we hope are disease and mite free, a very rare circumstance in the world of beekeeping today.
There are many ways you can support this new endeavor to cultivate a beekeeping cottage industry on Great Exuma. Here are a few suggestions...
Donation of time or money! We accept donations through PayPal which of course go a long way with helping to cover expenses of workshops, providing new beekeepers with equipment, and bringing honeybee education into classrooms around the island. If you have expertise or just have some good experience with beekeeping and would like to share, please contact us and let us know!
Purchase Exuma Honey! Honey donations of $20 (8oz jar) go directly to supporting our efforts. It is available at our Hooper's Bay offices during regular business hours. Several times a year, the Discovery Club jars and offers honey for donations at island events. Proceeds sold at these events go to the club. We also have student vendors that have raised money for the program.
Find out how you can support the Exuma Beekeeping Initiative below!