Fair Trade Holidays event features one-day sales blitz of coveted honey
On December 8, MacEwan University staff, faculty and students lined up by the dozens to get their hands on the first batch of MacEwan Honey.
Campus Services and the Office of Sustainability officially launched the honey for sale at the first annual Fair Trade Holidays event. The campus was abuzz all morning, and volunteers sold over 70 lbs of honey in just 23 minutes.
Campus Services director Kris Bruckmann was thrilled with the turnout at Fair Trade Holidays.
“It shows us how much interest there is on campus for food security and sustainability initiatives,” he says. “The community’s support for our honey means those funds can further future food projects linked to sustainability on campus.”
Romy Kupfer, the event coordinator for Fair Trade Holidays, said the honey sales were a major draw for the MacEwan community to attend the event and learn more about how fair trade is integrated on campus.
"It’s important to inform students and staff about how they can make conscious choices about what they purchase—the decisions we make have big impacts," she says, highlighting how the fair trade chocolate, tea and coffee sold on campus promote the ethical treatment of the workers and farmers who produce these goods.
“Sharing information about fair trade and the honey sales with our community was a huge success, but the event was also a great way for us to celebrate everything Campus Services and the Office of Sustainability have accomplished this year,” Romy says. “We make a great team, and the urban beekeeping project has been a fantastic representation of that.”
In their inaugural year, 177,000 bees produced over 35 kilograms of honey. The honey was in such high demand that sales were limited to two jars per person on the one-day blitz.
In the future, each harvest will produce up to 68 kilograms of honey per season, giving more community members a chance to taste the product for themselves. Troy Donovan, MacEwan’s resident beekeeper, says there could be more honey up for grabs as early as June 2017.
For now, however, Troy is focused on helping the bees make it through the winter.
The four hives currently sitting on the roof of Building 5 are wrapped in insulated padding to keep winter winds at bay. Inside, the bees vibrate in a cluster, keeping the queen at a toasty temperature of 35 degrees Celsius.
Troy says the bees were supplied with sugar water and medicated against mites to help keep them strong in the cold weather. If all goes well, Troy hopes to see the colonies and honey yield grow next year.
"In our first year, I'd say the highlight was harvesting that first bottle of honey," he says. “In the future, I’m hoping to harvest the honey at different times of the year, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the project grows.”
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.