Today is a big day for Vegan Chickpea! I get to come out from behind the blog and camera to shed light on issues that are near and dear to my heart, that represent why I got into blogging in the first place. My goal is to spread awareness around sustainability, health and wellness, so that we’re all empowered to make choices for ourselves and our families that feel aligned with our values.
With that, I ask that – no matter your current opinion of bees, honey, veganism, etc. – that you open your mind as you read this post and watch the video below, because you just may be surprised at what you discover!
MEETING KEVIN FROM BEE BOYS
Since going vegan a couple years ago, I wanted to learn more about how honey is created. I know honey isn’t vegan since it’s an insect by-product, but felt curious as to why some vegans were proponents of consuming raw, local, sustainably raised honey. What does sustainable honey mean, and how does it serve rather than exploit the bees?
I was sharing this curiosity with my brother David one day in Hawaii at a local coffee shop we stumbled into during a drive near the most southern point of the USA, on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Next to the cash register was a yummy looking granola bar, locally made by a company called Bee Boys. The bar had honey in it so I was sharing with David about my desire to learn more about honey production.
Lo and behold, one of the cofounders of Bee Boys named Kevin was actually standing behind us in line! Talk about divine timing. Long story short, we got to talking and I asked him if he’d be willing to do an interview for Vegan Chickpea, sharing about his views on veganism and what it means to produce sustainable honey. He happily said yes, as it lines up with Bee Boys’ mission to spread education and knowledge on this topic. So, I put on my investigative reporter hat and reached out to an active vegan Facebook group I’m in to ask them their big questions about this topic. Thank you to those of you who contributed to this conversation on Facebook!
A couple weeks later, I went out to Kevin’s beautiful land (pictured above) in the Waiohinu Valley. He lives off the grid in a modest home he built, surrounded by trees, flowers, plants and – of course – bees, in a serene place that feels like a magical garden. He considers himself a proud protector and steward of the bees, insisting that Bee Boys never “puts money before honey.”
If you’re not familiar with the standard honey production practices, I’ve provided some links in the next section about how honey is harvested, and Kevin also mentions some of these points in the video below.
HONEY BEES, EXPLOITATION & OUR FOOD SYSTEMS
Today I’m raising the important conversation about HOW our food gets created, specifically through the lens of honey production and beekeeping. Do you know how honey is harvested and the impact this practice has on the honey bee population? It’s well documented how conventional beekeeping and honey production is detrimental, unethically harvested and exploits the bees. You can read more about this from The Vegan Society here and PETA here.
Most people don’t think about how bees are not just honey or wax producers, but that they also play the essential role of pollinator in our food production, and are key players in a healthy ecosystem. If we lost all bees tomorrow, our food sources would start to vanish. Here’s a video from BBC about what would happen if bees went extinct.
As you’ll discover in the video below, this topic is far larger than just being about honey, bees or veganism (even though each of those topics are, of course, important unto themselves). This dialogue brings up the bigger picture questions around our food systems, how our food is produced and the importance of questioning where our food comes from, so that each of us can make informed decisions around the impact we have not just in our bodies, but on the planet, with what we choose to consume.Watch this first hand interview below with sustainable bee keeper, Kevin from BeeBoys.org. Here’s some of what’s covered in this discussion:
What is your biggest takeaway from this video? Leave a comment below sharing your biggest insights and if your opinion has changed on whether or not to consume honey, be it from local or standard industry origins. Your sharing helps others learn and integrate, and all opinions are welcome, just remember to ‘bee’ respectful!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about this important topic, and an extra thank you to Kevin for your vast knowledge, passionate commitment and making this educational interview possible! You can find out more about Bee Boys at www.beeboys.org
Special shoutout to my friend John for being the director and camera man. 🙂