Regenerative Practices and Outcomes

In a honey industry that is wildly fraudulent, we’re blazing an authentic and regenerative alternative that is good for honeybees, beekeepers, consumers, and the planet. Chances are, even if you are sourcing honey, you have little information on the honey you purchased, its authenticity, or its social and environmental impact.

According to research, up to 70% of honey in the global market is adulterated by blending with sugar syrups and other methods of adulteration. Worldwide beekeepers, honeybees, and the ecosystems they depend on are struggling to survive. 

This is why Pass the Honey has built a supplier network based on direct, 100% transparent, sourcing relationships with beekeepers suppliers who use regenerative beekeeping practices. 

PTH’s Regenerative Honey Conventional “honey” in the market
100% Authentic > Tested for adulteration — PTH uses the most advanced testing methods to test all sources for adulteration. Authenticity unknown.
100% transparent and traceable. — PTH has direct and fully transparent sourcing relationships with beekeeper suppliers. Opaque supply systems and unverified claims of country of origin.
Tested for contaminants to USDA standards to ensure honey is safe for consumers. Unknown contamination levels. Most honey sold in the US has NOT been tested for contamination.
Regenerative Impacts — PTH monitors impacts on beekeeper livelihoods, honey bee health and environmental health. Impacts unknown. Little to no insight into honey production and sourcing impacts.

The US apiculture system faces significant challenges symptomatic of fragmented approaches to

addressing fundamentally systemic issues. The way we respond to these challenges will shape the future of apiculture, agriculture, landscape health, ecosystem health and finally, human health and resiliency. 

After an examination of current challenges and discussions with a variety of stakeholders in the industry, Pass the Honey sought to identify areas of disproportionate impact that could be developed in order to create positive change across the apiculture system. We asked the question, what would it look like to design apiculture systems in a way that increases the health and capacity of all of the stakeholders in the system, beekeepers, bees, native pollinators, landowners, ecologies and consumers?

Our understanding of a regenerative approach was inspired by Carol Sanford’s work on Living Systems Design and First Principles of Regeneration. From our perspective the regenerative approach to apiculture does not prescribe practices, nor is regenerative a static state to be achieved. Rather, regenerative apiculture is achieved by applying regenerative design principles to beekeeping in such a way that increases the whole apiculture system’s health and capacity.

A regenerative approach:

  • Considers the apiculture system as a self-determining, living system that is not considered or acted on in a fragmented way.
  • Seeks to strategically design for and actualize the potential of the whole systems involved rather than focusing on the symptoms and problems.
  • Is context specific and considers the uniqueness of the people and places that make up the apiculture system.
  • Focuses on building the capacity of all stakeholders to thrive while engaging in mutualistic relationships with other stakeholders.
  • Realizes that apiculture exists within other systems that impact beekeeping and beekeeping impacts other systems.
  • Looks for the most important areas to create impact across the system.
  • Recognizes there are important areas or fields in which development of a system takes place.

The application of these principles allows beekeepers and other stakeholders to apply living systems design to implementing apiculture systems. When compared with sustainable and organic, the regenerative approach is capable of achieving higher levels of positive and lasting systems change.

How is Pass the Honey making a change?

Pass the Honey has established a definition, standards, and impact reporting metrics for regenerative honey.

Regenerative Apiculture is beekeeping that measurably improves the health and resilience of honey bees, generates positive interactions between honey bees and surrounding ecosystems, supports beekeeper livelihoods, and enables human food systems, and the biosphere to thrive. All while providing consumers with an unadulterated, nutrient dense, food that ultimately contributes to a thriving food system and planet.

Pass the Honey’s Regenerative honey standards establish beekeeping practices to ensure beekeepers prioritize honeybee health, honey authenticity, and quality.

Supplier monitoring and reporting ensures beekeepers and suppliers adhere to our beekeeping traceability standards. And our third-part testing ensures honey is free from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other harmful contaminants. 

PTH’s 100% Supply chain transparency provides buyers with the full story of where their honey is sourced from and the practices used to produce honey.

Pass the Honey’s Regenerative Standards Address the Following Challenges:

  1. Honey authenticity, rampant fraud, and adulteration of honey
  2. Supply system transparency and traceability
  3. Beekeeping principles and standards which are practical and feasible for beekeepers to implement.
  4. Unknown levels of honey contamination

Pass the Honey’s Regenerative Beekeeping Standards include:

  1. Regenerative Beekeeper and Supplier Standards that outline commitments and minimum standards for regenerative beekeeping practices, sourcing practices, transparency, and traceability.
  2. An internal system for monitoring and reporting on beekeeper and supplier practices and outcomes associated with beekeeping.
  3. Third party laboratory testing for authenticity and contamination that ensures product quality and safety as well as verifies beekeepers.
  4. Full supply system traceability and transparency through direct sourcing relationships with trusted beekeeper suppliers.

Some might look at our regenerative standards and assume our work is done, but we’re just getting started.

Below is a report of our first attempt to outline a way forward, this framework can be used like a rubric to assess the current regenerative capacity:

Outside of the Regenerative Honeycomb Continuum, the most concrete definition of regenerative agriculture involves loose guidelines that some academics and practitioners agree on. These principles don’t encapsulate the nuances involved in beekeeping, leaving apiarists to fend for themselves. Stack on a changing climate and widespread use of apitoxic chemicals, and the situation for bees and beekeepers has quickly become dire.

There are still many questions to be answered when it comes to clearly defining regenerative apiculture. Through our extended efforts and partnerships with UC Davis and our domestic research land we intend to further our understanding of the co-benefits of bees and pollinators on ecosystems and observe our regenerative standards in motion in various environments. This will help us shape regenerative standards that beekeepers can then use to produce high-quality honey and honeycomb in a way that restores nature and bee populations globally.

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