Beekeeping is a small but significant enterprise at the College Farm. In 2000, a small apiary was established at the Horticulture Farm. Like other aspects of the farm, it has evolved over time and will continue to change based on farm and student needs. In 2009, organic management plants were submitted so that the Farm’s honey production could be Certified Organic. Having an apiary on-site provides valuable pollinators for the horticulture enterprise and honey produced is sold at the Berea College Farm Store.
About once a year, students can take a Beekeeping course to fulfill degree requirements. Because bees play an important role in plant pollination and small-scale farming, this course appeals to a variety of students. In the course, students are taught the care and management of honey bees. They are educated on hive health and how to recognize diseases or pests that can occur. The importance of honey bees in our farming systems is stressed as well as factors that are contributing to decreased pollinator populations. Students also receive valuable hands-on experience by interacting with the hives at the Berea College Horticulture Farm. The ANR department provides protective gear so each student can get an up-close experience caring for the bees under instructor supervision. Often, a student who has taken the course and works at the horticulture farm will monitor and care for the bees during their scheduled labor hours.