Sustainability is a word that’s used a lot these days, especially with the world’s climate and natural environments undergoing some major changes. There are many interpretations but, in food production, it generally means acting in a way that maintains a balanced environment and healthy ecosystem.
It’s vital that we all strive in making this happen together. Here are some of the steps that Balqees takes to play our part in making as little impact as possible on the natural world in tandem with our community of beekeepers:
The heart of our business is raw Yemeni honey. We’ve developed a cooperative of beekeepers in Yemen enabling them to carry on centuries old traditions in harmony with nature. The beekeepers are nomadic, following bees as they migrate with the seasons. They gently harvest honey at appropriate times, disturbing the hives as little as possible and leaving the bees with plentiful honey to sustain them through cooler weather and to feed and breed.
These stringent standards are applied to those we work with in other parts of the world too and Riath, our founder, visits everyone personally to discuss their approach. Most of our beekeepers are situated in very remote areas. We will never work with anyone that uses antibiotics, sugar syrup, moves hives from location to location, and other harsh and disruptive methods with the bees. Our beekeepers use a bee-centred approach to hive management so that bees can behave naturally.
The difficulty in labelling honey as organic is because no one can guarantee that the bees have foraged solely on organically-grown flowers. This is why Balqees only sources from remote areas well away from industrial, chemical-ridden agriculture.
Movement of food around the world, especially by air, is a big contributor to global warming. That is why we transport our honey in bulk and then package it locally. This reduces the weight and volume, therefore the impact. Wherever possible we ship our stocks by sea. The majority of our honey is sourced from within the region to lessen food miles.
Balqees pioneered the, much imitated, use of ladling raw honey from large glass bowls on the counter. Again this lessens the impact of transport and means we can predict supply accurately without waste. We have always sold our honey in glass jars and will never use single use plastic bottles.
We are always looking at ways that we can improve sustainability. At present that is looking for an alternative to the disposable plastic spoons used for tasting. The other is finding a system of recycling so that customers can refill their clean glass jars.
How can you be an ethical consumer and help sustain a bee-friendly environment?
Be sure that the honey that you buy is genuine, ethical and puts bee welfare and sustainability first. Ask the name of the beekeeper – Balqees is happy to answer any questions from our customers and proud of our beekeepers. Learn more about some of them here.
Let us know if you have any suggestions on sustainability so we can all work together to preserve our precious and wonderful natural world.