The V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) and its partners announce the upcoming First Annual Virgin Fresh Beekeeping “Buzzaar” to commemorate the Virgin Fresh Beekeeping Project. The “Buzzaar” will be held in both districts and provides a platform for the emerging agribusiness industry in the territory.
The “Buzzaar” is being held in observance of National Honey Month, as celebrated throughout the nation during the month of September, to promote awareness of the many diverse uses and benefits of honey. The annual observance also focuses on the importance of the honeybee, as well as local beekeepers that provide fresh, nutritious honey and other products for consumers.
The beekeeping project was funded by a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service grant award to the Department of Agriculture. “The very successful Virgin Fresh Beekeeping Project has supported the expansion of the local beekeeping industry by providing entrepreneurial training for 103 new beekeepers throughout the territory, stimulating the growth of new agribusinesses, and encouraging the establishment of a beekeepers’ association,” Agriculture Commissioner Louis E. Petersen Jr., Ph.D., said. The commissioner also noted that “one of the goals of this administration is to stimulate economic development through the growth of the agricultural sector. The Virgin Fresh Beekeeping Project continues to achieve meaningful contributions toward this goal.”
The 2008 grant award was also used to launch the territory-wide Virgin Fresh Marketing Campaign to encourage increased production, sales and consumption of local agricultural commodities.
On St. Croix, the “Buzzaar” will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, in the Sunshine Mall parking lot. On St. Thomas, the event will be held at the same times on Saturday, Sept. 24, near the Center Court at the Tutu Park Mall.
The “Buzzaar” will feature educational displays and exhibits (including an observation beehive). Raw products and bi-products from beehives will also be available for sale, including a wide variety of honey, bee pollen, lotions, soaps, lip balms, honeycomb, candles and beekeeping supplies. All products that will be displayed were locally produced, prepared and packaged.
Project partners include: the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, the V.I. Department of Tourism, the V.I. Small Business Development Center and Virgin Islands beekeepers.
The entire public is encouraged to come out and learn more about the importance and benefits of honey and the beekeeping industry while supporting local beekeepers in celebration of National Honey Month and the First Annual Beekeepers’ Buzzaar.
Persons interested in participating in the Beekeeping Buzzaar should contact VIDOA Deputy Commissioner Errol Chichester at 778-0997/8 ext. 238. There is no charge for participation.