Slow Stories

by Mary Jane Edleson

Why Wild Forest Honey?

Why Wild Forest Honey?

Indonesia’s forests are still blessed with the Apis dorsata Giant Bee, one of Asia’s most productive honey bees.  Noteworthy about this species has been its resilience to the threats facing imported / hybrid bee species, thus allowing it to continue to play an important role as a plant pollinator in the forests of Indonesia.  The Apis dorsata Giant Bee lives only in the forest areas of subtropical and tropical Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India and Nepal.

There are many interesting differences between wild forest honey (from Apis dorsata) and cultivated honey (Apis cerana or Apis melifera).  Forest honey is an organic product harvested directly from the forest.  Cultivated honey is often found in farming areas that use non-organic fertilizers and pesticides, so it can be contaminated with chemicals.  Forest bees gather their food supply directly from nature, while cultivated bees sometimes require sugar periodically.

On March 6, 2014, Slow Food Bali will host an event with the Indonesian Forest Honey Network (Jaringan Madu Hutan Indonesia, or JMHI), which represents wild forest honey collectors throughout Indonesia.

During this special event, our Slow Food members and friends will learn how honey not only has value for human health and helps local communities by providing alternative revenues, but also functions as a forest conservation agent.

The vision of the Honey Network is to protect and preserve the forests of Indonesia as natural habitats, improve the welfare of forest honey farmers, and honor local wisdom.  The Honey Networks works to mprove the processing and appreciation of wild forest honey, allowing for a guarantee in product quality, and a fair trade opportunity for local collectors.

During the March 6 event, SF members will have a chance to meet forest honey collectors, learn about their sustainable methods for harvesting forest honey, and taste honey from five different parts of Indonesia.


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