Today, we’re continuing a long-standing tradition of Appalachian apiculture through the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective.

Our goal is to create economic opportunities for rural families. We help our members to learn the art, science, and business of earning a sustainable income through beekeeping.

The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective trains new beekeeper-entrepreneurs to maintain honey bee hives for profit. Beekeeping can be a great way to earn a sustainable living in rural areas, but the start-up costs and learning curve can be steep. Our program provides the materials and support necessary to overcome the considerable barriers to getting started. We keep the continued costs of operating low through collective processing and marketing.

The program originally began as an effort to ensure we had the pollinators necessary to help our mined land restoration projects succeed. It quickly evolved into a workforce development program as we realized the significant economic opportunities offered by beekeeping.  The Beekeeping Collective has the potential to bring millions of dollars into the region, offering job options and supplemental incomes for hundreds of people.

Learn more about our program by listening to some of our member beekeepers:

Our program provides bees, hive boxes, equipment, education and support for new beekeepers. The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective provides initial bee colonies and materials for free or at reduced cost on an income-based sliding scale. Our educational staff supports our members by teaching them beekeeping skills in classrooms and then through visits to their homes to monitor their progress, building up to more advanced skills over time.

Appalachian Headwaters will process, market, and distribute products like honey and wax to high-demand markets otherwise inaccessible to small-scale beekeepers, earning top dollar for our members. This program is currently focused on 17 counties in southern West Virginia, with the goal of expanding into southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky.