This fundraiser is for my parents, who are beekeepers and farmers from Santa Rosa, CA. Their business name is Hector's Honey and Farm. The recent north bay fires wiped out a good percentage of my parents' strongest and healthiest hives. Some hives remain. (Just to explain to those who might not understand beekeeping of this magnitide, I say "a good percentage" because they have groups of hives placed in different parts all over Sonoma County, not all the hives they own are in the same place, and it just so happens that the strongest and healthiest hives were the ones that were burnt and killed) Both the hive boxes as well as the colonies of bees were completely burnt to the ground, and nothing was left. Farming and beekeeping is how they make a living. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my father have raised honeybees; it's their life.
Not only are the bees important to them to make a living, but they are also extremely important to the ecosystem of Sonoma County. I asked my dad how much it cost to lose those hives, and he said there really isn't a value he can put. It takes years to make a colony of bees strong. The time, the care, and dedication doesn't have a value. Sure, money can replace the equipment, but it will take a lot of time to build back up again. With the recent drought that lasted years in CA, and the high mite problem that my parents have faced in recent years as well, the honey supply has been lower than ever before.
My parents only let their bees forage for nectar from flowers, which means my dad has to constantly move the hives in search of flowering fields. Some beekeepers feed their bees a sugar/water mixture in order to make honey either out of desperation or in order to mass produce. As you can imagine, the health of the bees and quality of the honey diminishes when this is done. My parents do not risk their integrity, nor the quality of honey, nor the health of their bees by succumbing to these methods. I'm proud to say they have some of the best, "old-school" style honey around.
My parents are some of the hardest working people I know. After these fires destroyed our area, my parents didn't want to seek help. They were stubbornly wanting to be humble and rebuild on their own. They contacted their insurance company, and they will only cover the cost of frames and boxes, but unfortunately not the actual bees themselves, which is far more expensive and far more valuable than the mere equipment. After I posted some photos of the destruction of my parents hives, I was astounded at the response from the community. So many of you wanted to donate and find a way to help, reaching out to me and my family. It brought us to tears several times, the sheer generosity of our community, helping one another to rebuild our lives, and our area.
So I'm starting this fundraiser for my family, and for all of you wonderful and caring people out there that reached out to us wanted to help. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Let's find a way to rebuild our community and our ecosystem back to a healthy place. We are Sonoma County Strong!