There are over 300 unique types of honey in the U.S. The Good Food Guild showcases honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility. From rooftop urban hives to busy bees pollinating organic orchards and meadows filled with wildflower.
The Good Food Guild relies on the expertise of the honey community to develop, revise and set standards for the category. As beekeeping and honey extraction techniques evolve, so do our standards. Read on to learn what those standards are and meet the beekeepers of the Good Food Guild.
In order to join the Good Food Guild, honey companies must meet the following standards for at least 50% of their product line:
- Produced in the USA or US territories.
- Be the bona fide product of the entrant’s own bees.
- Harvested between August 2022 and August 2023.
- Extracted with minimal heat (100°) and, after extraction, not exposed to heat greater than 120°.
- Strained and/or filtered to leave in pollen.
- If made with inclusions (such as fruit and herbs):
- If grown domestically, they are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
- If not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,* as exemplified through integrating these practices:
- Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
- Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
- Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
- For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.*
Additionally, beekeepers who own and/or manage the bees locally and extract the honey must:
- Practice good animal husbandry, including:
- Do not locate hives within a five-mile radius of crops that receive heavy usage of agrochemicals.**
- Do not regularly relocate any hives major distances for commercial pollination services.***
- Manage hives using minimal chemical interventions (miticides, antibiotics, etc.), in response to need and never prophylactically, following prescribed application guidelines.
- Feed balanced nutrition when needed, that is non-GMO and free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
- Practice social responsibility, including:
- Engage their community in education.
- If staff is employed in tending the hives and harvesting the honey, they are treated respectfully and given fair compensation.
*Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.
**The Good Food Foundation acknowledges that the 5-mile range will exclude entry of honeys harvested in areas of agricultural acreage in the Midwestern heartland, California’s Central Valley and other heavily farmed sections of the country This criterion reflects our concerns for the long-term health of bees in monoculture farming and the higher presence of trace chemicals in honeys from areas of heavy agrochemical application.
***Hives may be moved short distances for appropriate forage.
The Good Food Foundation has deep respect for the work of all beekeepers who are practicing responsible husbandry and caring for the health of pollinators. We therefore invite beekeepers in these conventionally-farmed regions, who are creating healthy, abundant, diverse, agrochemical-free pollinator habitat, to enter. They will be asked to provide compelling documentation of their work to balance the surrounding environs by providing plentiful local forage for their hives.