By Rachel Lutz Features Editor
Dr. Patrick Gannon, a professor and chair for the Department of Science Education at Hofstra’s medical school, does more than just teach classes. He’s also more than just the beekeeper on campus; he’s the self-proclaimed bee whisperer. He doesn’t have to walk the bees every day, but he does tend to them and collect their honey.
Arboretum Amber, the honey, is an all-natural neutropseudical. This means that it has the potential to reduce pollen allergies, a feature that has been known to be anecdotally true for centuries. Now, Gannon’s inaugural class of medical students is conducting studies to prove the medical benefits of all-natural honeys. The class hopes to establish that all-natural honey can replace the need for allergy shots. No timetable is in place to determine when the study will be published, but Gannon and his students hope that it will be soon.
According to Gannon, honey bought from the store doesn’t offer the health benefits that natural honey does. The companies that make the honey in stores ultra-filter it so that it is nearly impossible to trace the origin.
Upon coming to Hofstra four years ago to launch the medical school, Gannon was struck by the beauty of the campus. He became friends with the director of the Hofstra University Arboretum, Fred Sovieroand, and they both realized that bees are the most important insects for any garden; thus, the honey project was born.
Gannon caught the "bug" for beekeeping as a child growing up in England. He realized that bees were the key to agriculture because they pollinate all crops. Beekeeping has become a passion of his because it simply makes sense. He even hopes to one day offer a beekeeping course.
Gannon offers honey for sale at $8 per 190 mL jar to friends of Hofstra University. He also has another brand of honey called City Island Honey, named in accordance with the location of his second apiary.