I notice that many vegan cookbooks and websites are promoting almond milk as a preferred “milk” product for recipes and drinking, and I wonder if all these writers are aware of the danger that California’s almond growers are causing for honeybees.
Honeybees and their hives are trucked in to almond groves in order to pollinate the trees to allow the production of the nuts. These honeybees are exposed to herbicides and pesticides that are used in many of the groves that are not organic. There is no dedicated source of honeybee pollinators for organic groves, although some have their own colonies or hives. The almond milk you are using may well come at dreadful cost to the pollinators that make it possible.
Honeybees have immune systems facilitated by fungi in their hives. When they’re pollinating the almond orchards, they’re being exposed to ongoing spraying of chemicals that attach to their hairs and wings and are carried back to the hive. There is obviously damage done to their health and well-being by this abusive use of them.
Honeybees currently are essential to most vegan lifestyles as they pollinate on organic farms as well as corporate farms. Most of what vegans eat we eat as a result of the honeybees’ hard work. Honeybees are threatened as I think most people know. The only way they are surviving now is in these corporate abusive settings or in regenerative, sustainable beekeeping by small, local producers.
We need honeybees, as the world would be devastated without them. Much of the plant kingdom is reliant on them for fertilization and propagation. Without small beekeeping practices around this country, the variety and wealth of our biosphere would suffer and deteriorate. Do we not owe it to these fabulous insects to support those who are willing to do the hard work of nurturing and saving them? I, for one, am willing to use honey from such a source, and if that makes me less of a vegan, so be it. At the Bee Boys in Hawai’i say it, I guess I’m a beegan.