ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Honey is one of the most popular natural sweeteners. Unity Hospital started to make its own by placing beehives on its roof. The idea is to promote healthy eating and environmental awareness.
Sustainability is all the buzz at Unity Hospital. There are more than 100,000 Italian honey bees at each one of the hives on the hospital’s roof. That may seem a lot, but officials there say the bee population is declining due to environmental problems, which can result in health care problems.
The hospital wants to do its part and support the regeneration of the bee population. Since may beekeepers from Grawn Family Farms have been overseeing the bees, and now they’re harvesting the honey. The honey produced at the hospital can have significant benefits for their staff and patients.
“Having honey here is excellent because not only are we a food product that is delicious as well as nutritious, we help our local bee population. Not only are they making this food for us, but they are supporting all of our other agricultural too by being pollinators,” said Kerry Keyes, registered dietitian at Unity Hospital.
“It was amazing how excited people got and how much peace and comfort they got from the bees. I hope that this does that for the people,” said Jerod Grawn, beekeeper at Grawn Family Farms.
Raw honey is a good source of antioxidants, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and offers immune-boosting and anticancer benefits, according to health experts.
“It’s a natural prebiotic and probiotic. that’s a big thing that we’re learning about now. You have all these bacteria that you live in your gut that are beneficial and helpful for digestion,” said Keyes. “We’re looking for ways to stimulate that population and keep them healthy and strong. So having honey which is a natural, hopefully, keep you safe and happy.”
So what happens to the bees during the winter months ahead? According to Grawn, the bees form a cluster at the center of the hive. They keep the queen warm while she lays a certain amount of eggs, and the cycle starts over again in the spring.
The hospital plans to expand the beehive program to other locations soon.