ST. JOHN RECOVERY PROJECT
Project Title – "Bring Back the Beekeepers of St. John, USVI"
In St. John, where almost every foodstuff is imported, the local apiculture industry reduced imports and the resulting carbon emissions. Tourists considered the local artisanal honey with mango and lime accents as therapeutic. Even before Irma, St. John has seen wild bee die offs resulting from colony collapse disorder (CCD). Also, the recent retirement of Mr. Rabsatt’s resulted in a tremendous loss of local knowledge and expertise.
Hurricane Irma wiped out the managed honeybee industry and destroyed most of the Island’s ecology which cannot be restored without pollinators. The problem however isn’t as simple as releasing new bees back into St. John. Each bee species is a specialized pollinator. For example, the honeybee, remarkable as it is, does not know how to pollinate tomato or eggplant flowers. The honeybee, a species that is not native to America does very poorly compared to native bees when pollinating many native plants, such as pumpkins, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries.
The local knowledge needed to identify the right bee for the flowers, plants, and animals native to St. John is now all but gone. Thus, the goal of the project is to provide the equipment, supplies, stipends, and training to sustain 5 beekeepers in St. John for 18 months. Products will be sustainable and sold to local restaurants and offered for export through our hive store.
Also, beekeepers will sell products locally to lessen the carbon footprint of their operations and implement a return program to limit bottle consumption. Lastly, Save the Bees will provide technical support of a wax cloth production capability that will be used to preserve food items, instead of using single use plastics such as Saran Wrap.
Quentin Adolphe, Program Director
Our project will produce the following results in 18 months:
Provide training towards Master Beekeeper Certifications for up to 50 beekeepers
Provide an income stream that will sustain 5 beekeepers for 18 months
Provide equipment and supplies for five beekeepers to re-establish their businesses lost as a result of Hurricane Irma