Terri Giles, former Economic Development Director for Senator Rockefeller, is now taking a look at West Virginia’s communities from the perspective of a honey bee. Terri has watched small communities in the state lose their industry, small businesses and economic stability over time. However, she knows that West Virginians are capable and determined to grow. 

Terri was a recent guest on the Positively West Virginia Podcast, hosted by Jim Matuga. West Virginian tenacity and the need for environmental healing has moved Terri and her partners at the Appalachian Headwaters Organization to begin a nonprofit to sponsor beekeeping within the state. This organization specializes in outfitting and mentoring interested locals in beekeeping from start to finish. 

This process all started with the combination of declining industry and slow reclamation work within the state. 80 percent of the honey that we find in the nation comes from overseas, meaning West Virginia can really benefit from this pure, niche commodity. Beekeeping is a way to both stimulate economic growth and help the environment become healthier and more fruitful. 

The process begins by reaching out to Appalachian Headwaters. You will be invited to join a series of comprehensive classes taught by experts in the field. The collective gives you every tool you might need and personally mentor each person to build their skills and knowledge in beekeeping. Terri says that people have reported healthier land and larger harvests almost immediately after taking on their beekeeping venture. 

The honey that is produced in West Virginia can be spotted through its intense flavor that changes drastically nearly every year depending on the pollen and growth in the spring. Terri relates the different flavors you can experience through honey to what you might expect from wine. 

Terri said, “If you’re in West Virginia, you can do anything because your community is behind you.” 

The program has already mentored 105 different beekeepers who now produce honey each year that they can sell back to the organization for a prime rate. The bee collective plans to keep growing and strengthening West Virginians. Their plan is to continue to educate and sponsor those who are interested in an effort to reknit communities and benefit the local culture and industry within our communities. If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper with the help of this collective, visit https://appheadwaters.org/ today.

Listen to the whole podcast here: https://positivelywv.com/podcast/episode-148-terri-giles-appalachian-beekeeping-collective/


  • RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: www.appheadwaters.org
  • PIECE OF ADVICE:You can never take the West Virginia out of a West Virginian,” said Terri.