Three community-run businesses in the Overberg’s Stanford Valley are now working together to help save South Africa’s unique Capensis honeybee and uplift their farmworkers.
Lomond Wine Estate, Stonehouse Cheese Estate, and honeybee conservancy Honeybee Heroes – all located within a few kilometres of the small Overberg village of Stanford – have recently forged a new partnership in an effort to produce new homes for thousands of honeybees, while providing additional income to their employees and educating local consumers on the importance of ethically-sourced food products.
Honeybees are an essential part of food production worldwide, pollinating most of the world’s fruits, vegetables, nuts and more. But due to farming and beekeeping malpractice, habitat loss, and climate change, honeybees are at risk globally. South Africa’s honeybee species, Apis mellifera capensis, or “Capensis”, is a particularly vulnerable species.
Honeybee Heroes will be placing micro-apiaries of 20 honeybee hives each on both estates, to be run by estate staff.
These staff members will be equipped by Honeybee Heroes’ expert beekeepers with the necessary gear and training to care for the hives and safely extract honey from healthy colonies. The hives will be frequently assessed and appropriately certified by Honeybee Heroes as being ethically and sustainably harvested.
Both estates intend to allow visitors to view the hives in order to learn more about sustainable beekeeping, and will sell honey from the hives in their shops. Interested visitors can sponsor one of these hives for R2 000 and will receive 3kg of Honeybee Heroes raw honey and select Lomond or Stonehouse products.
With 150 hectares of vineyards and over 1 000 hectares of indigenous fynbos, Lomond Wine Estate is active in a number of sustainability projects, including a sustainable trout fishery.
Three micro-apiaries will be placed on Lomond land, each to be managed by a different Lomond farmworker and their family living on the property, who will take a small percentage of the proceeds of the honey sold from the hives to supplement their annual income.
A fourth Lomond apiary will be established in nearby Gansbaai on Romansbaai Estate. These hives will be cared for by a longtime Romansbaai staff member who lives on the property.
Stonehouse Cheese Estate is a family-owned sustainable dairy farm in Stanford and will host two Honeybee Heroes micro-apiaries. Profits from the honey will be going back into the business rather than to a particular staff member.
For more information visit www.honeybeeheroes.com