Mead and Melons each have their origins in ancient human civilization. The Sān hunter-gatherers--indigenous to Southern Africa--first tasted mead after rains forced bees out of hives in the cavities of baobab trees. The abandoned honey combined with rainwater and wild yeasts and began to ferment; nature's own alchemy. Melons storing thirst-quenching moisture dotted the landscape, symbols of survival and self-sufficiency in the arid Kalahari. Migration towards the Nile brought these commodities to the Mediterranean, and centuries later, to the US South and Caribbean. After emancipation across the New World, members of the African diaspora continued to cultivate their ancient and lucrative crop in the sandy loams of the US South, Central America, and the Caribbean. Fearing successes of Black farmers during the 19th and 20th centuries, white supremacists turned the watermelon into a racist trope. In a joint effort to reject that image and reclaim the powerful and life-affirming origins of these ancient fruits, we partner with the nonprofit, beeYounited, to use profits from our Melon Mead to establish BIPOC-owned bee farms and pollinator sites across the US South.
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