Beekeeping is a small but significant enterprise at the College Farm. In 2000, the College established an apiary at the Horticulture Farm. Having an apiary on-site provides valuable pollinators for the horticulture enterprise. The 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 essential role in plant pollination and small-scale farming, this course appeals to many students. In the class, students learn the care and management of honeybees. They also study hive health and how to recognize diseases or pests that can occur. Significant takeaways from the course are the importance of honeybees in our farming systems and factors that contribute 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.
Bee Campus USA
Berea College was named an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program in 2019, making it the 85th education institution in the country achieve this certification. This Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation awarded the College this certification for its efforts in creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet. These efforts involve increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites and reducing pesticide usage.