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Bee the Change; Sell Honey Drinks on May 20 to Support Coffee Farmers


Not only are bees the magic little engines maintaining the fragile balance of the earth’s ecosystem, they can also produce something wonderful to mix with coffee.

This coming May 20, on World Bee Day, the nonprofit Food 4 Farmers is asking coffee retailers to collect $1 from every honey-added drink sold to go towards its beekeeping programming among coffee-farming communities.

Here’s a handy guide from Food 4 Farmers on how coffee retailers can participate. Need honey drink ideas? See the collection of delectable recipes at the bottom of this story, including a take on the classic Café con Miel.

Bees and Coffee

Study after study has shown that bees, as natural pollinators, can dramatically improve seasonal coffee plant health and yields, which can potentially increase farmer incomes.

Beekeepers of ACODIHUE co-op check in on their hives

Beekeepers from the ACODIHUE cooperative check in on their hives. Photo courtesy of Food 4 Farmers.

Yet, as Food 4 Farmers has shown through its support of three different farm-level projects in Mexico and Guatemala, beekeeping itself can result in a critical source of income through honey production, helping to stave off food insecurity in the months between coffee harvests.

“Since the honey harvest falls after the coffee harvest, it provides additional income during months of traditional food scarcity when income from the previous coffee harvest has run out,” Food 4 Farmers Program Director Marcela Pino said in a statement to DCN. “This extra income helps families combat rising food costs and avoid going into debt to purchase food. It also provides a safety net when their coffee harvest is disrupted by coffee left rust, pests, natural disasters, or low coffee prices.”

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Food 4 Farmers-supported beekeeping programs with the CESMACH coffee cooperative (Mexico), the Maya Ixil cooperative (Guatemala) and the ACODIHUE cooperative (Guatemala) have proven to improve household incomes, improve household food crop production and provide income-generating work for women and young people. 

In 2021 at the CESMACH cooperative alone, some 1,200 managed hives produced nearly 40,000 pounds of honey, generating more than $50,000 in income for beekeepers and their families, according to Food 4 Farmers. 

CESMACH beekeepers with freshly harvested honey

CESMACH beekeepers with freshly harvested honey. Photo courtesy of Food 4 Farmers.

“Without a doubt, beekeeping and coffee growing go hand in hand, especially because beekeeping is an activity that does not require a lot of time,” Susi Roblero, Coffee Farmers & Beekeeping Promoter at the CESMACH cooperative, told DCN. “It’s of great help to our co-op members, because it generates important extra income for their families in lean times.”

Click here to join Food 4 Farmers’ World Bee Day effort.

Honey coffee drinks