Rodale Institute announced a new campaign in partnership with Wedderspoon Organic naming the month of July as National Organic Honey Month. The ‘July is National Organic Honey Month’ campaign will make use of social media to spread awareness around issues affecting the honeybees. Both groups will use the hashtag #beeaware to track the conversation and will host a kick-off event on June 21 as part of the Institute’s ‘Kick Off the BBQ Season’ event at their Kutztown, PA research farm.

The campaign will celebrate honeybees and their contribution to the food system as pollinators. It will also raise awareness around the decline in honeybee populations and the threats they face in the form of toxic agricultural chemicals.

Conversely, National Honey Month is held in September and promotes beekeepers, the beekeeping industry and honey as a sweetening product. The USDA-overseen National Honey Board selected September as Honey Month back in 1989 because September is the month when honey collection ends for most conventional beekeepers.

“If you are a beekeeper and you are going to take honey, you should finish by the end of July so that the bees have enough honey to survive the winter. Continuing to harvest honey until September does not give them enough time to build necessary stores for the winter,” said Rodale Institute executive director, ‘Coach’ Mark Smallwood.

Rodale Institute’s 333-acre research farm is home to the Honeybee Conservancy, started in 2012 in response to major health problems decimating the honeybee population in North America. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) still results in a 30% death rate every winter for these valuable pollinators with no answer in sight. Rodale Institute posits that individual honeybee stewards are one of the solutions to this problem.

The Honeybee Conservancy promotes healthy beekeeping practices through education and outreach and includes classes in sustainable beekeeping practices, hive hosting on Rodale Institute’s organic farm and support for beginners through the network.