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Mayan Beekeeping Survives Today

Imagine a world where honey bees are your family’s livelihood. The hives are tucked deep in the jungles of Chiapas and Quintana Roo, and have been tended by Mayan communities for generations. Although there is a centuries-old beekeeping tradition there, honey production has only recently been recognized as a viable and stable income opportunity in the global market.

Imagine a world where honey bees are your family’s livelihood. The hives are tucked deep in the jungles of Chiapas and Quintana Roo, and have been tended by Mayan communities for generations. Although there is a centuries-old beekeeping tradition there, honey production has only recently been recognized as a viable and stable income opportunity in the global market.In years past, middlemen, or “coyotes,” took a majority of the beekeepers’ income. With assistance from TransFair USA, Wholesome Sweeteners is able to pay a fair price directly to the beekeepers, who have formed vibrant worker-owned cooperatives that create meaningful employment, improve product quality, and send their children to school – until now, an unaffordable luxury in these economically-depressed regions. Additionally, by protecting the hives and native plant forage areas, Fair Trade encourages biodiversity and helps the forests thrive.All that and the honey is amazing! The multi-floral honey is collected from hives isolated deep within southern Mexico’s rainforests and designated organic agricultural zones. The bees forage only on wildflowers and, for one brief week every year, organically cultivated coffee blooms. As the season progresses and the flowers change, the honeys’ character changes too, deepening in color and flavor.Look for the Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic in two varieties: amber honey and raw honey. You can find other TransFair certified products throughout our stores—just look for their seal. By the way, October is TransFair USA’s Fair Trade Month.TransFair USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth. In partnership with TransFair USA, our Whole Trade Guarantee program will continue to promote these certified items in our stores, and track their sales so that we can donate 1% of their sales to our Whole Planet Foundation, whose mission is to end world poverty through micro-credit loans.

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