The Unsung Hero in Our Business and America More Broadly: Honeybees

Have you ever noticed that someone in business or life that seems to get everything done they are supposed to? Day in, day out. Each year passes and they stick to it and keep being productive.

Maybe you’ve noticed. Many others haven’t.

That’s how it is with one of the key partners in our business: Our honeybees.

Every year they work hard. Day in and day out to create the raw, urban honey we incorporate into our products. This is the story of our honeybees and their relevance to America’s food system.

Beehives at O’Hare

On the east side of O’Hare Airport, between Mannheim Road and I-294, you’ll find the first apiary (a collection of beehives) on airport grounds in the United States. We started this project with O’Hare Airport and the City of Chicago’s Department of Family Support Services (DFSS) in 2011.
We couldn’t do what we do without the honeybees buzzing about inside the hives that are housed here. These hard workers have always played the quintessential helping role in making our business function and grow. As the Fourth of July approaches, we wanted to look back on the role the honeybee has played in American society.

Honeybee’s are vital to our food system

Since coming to America in the 1630s, the honeybee has always played this role of the helper. After they were brought to the east coast by settlers, honeybees went west, out in front of the pioneers. They pollinated the land, spread grains and clover, and provided honey and wax for consumption or trade.

As America grew and expanded, the honeybee grew and expanded its influence. It became integral to the United States economy in the 18th century, when Virginia began exporting beeswax. Today, fully one third of the food we eat and over 80% of all flowering plants are pollinated by the honeybee.

Think about that. One third of our food requires the honeybee! Without our little yellow friends, there are no fruited plains, and there are no amber waves of grain.

Sweet Beginnings special partnership with bees

Today, the honeybee has found another way to help America – by putting its people back to work. Our apiary at O’Hare airport, one of three we operate, produces honey. Our employees then process, package, and ship it as raw honey and all-natural skin care products.

All of these employees are returning citizens. They are determined and hard-working Americans who deserve a second, third, and fourth chance because the deck is now stacked against them. They may have made a poor choice at one point, but they have paid their debt to society.

Yet they can be legally denied work because of their criminal record. This leaves them few ways of supporting themselves and their family.

But with the help of the honeybee, our unique business model and belief in the goodness of people, they are back on the path to an improved quality of life provided by the dignity that comes from employment.

Celebrate the American honeybee and our nation’s birthday, July 4th, 1776.

To celebrate the importance of the honeybee to our nation and our company, we have a special sale going on. Any order from our online store over $17.76 will receive discounted shipping – only $5! This is valid from now until the Fourth of July.

And if you’re gearing up for a barbecue, be sure to check out our latest recipe – home made honey barbecue sauce. By making it yourself, you can give it the flavor and spice you like while having less sugar and salt than store bought.

Every beelove® purchase provides people facing significant barriers to employment – those with histories of criminal convictions – with viable opportunities to establish a work history, learn productive work habits, and become productive members of society.

Happy Fourth!

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Neila Adams