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World Bee Day: Is it too late?

We posted a blog last year about World Bee Day and sadly, bees, bats and hummingbirds are increasingly under threat from human activities. We’ve added additional things to think about this year for WBD.

Our ecosystems cannot survive without pollination. Did you know that nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plants depend, entirely, or at least partly, on animal pollination. More than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land also depend on pollinators.

beeTo raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

“The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.

We all depend on pollinators and it is, therefore, crucial to monitor their decline and halt the loss of biodiversity.”bee on flower

Do cucumbers, mustard, almonds and alfalfa have anything in common?

At first glance you would think not so much! But there is one thing they do share— they all owe their very existence to the benefit of having bees in their area.

Bees mean more than sweet honey! Bees have been helping farmers for millennia with food production and have not been getting much recognition for their important role. Pollination services are declining around the world and the effects on crop yields and nutrition are starting to be evident.

According to the Zero Hunger podcast series, here are some reasons we need bees and some things we can to to preserve them.

  1. They increase food quantity

    watermelom sliced

    Watermelon— perfect for summer picnics!

Bees and other pollinating insects are currently improving the food production of 2 billion small farmers worldwide, helping to ensure food security for the world’s population. If pollination is managed well on small farms, crop yields can increase significantly by 24 percent.

  1. They increase food quality

Foods that are rich in micro-nutrients such as fruits, vegetables and seeds depend on pollination. If a plant has been well pollinated, a larger and more uniform fruit will develop. Round apples would suggest there had been sufficient pollination, but misshaped apples would imply insufficient pollination. Generally, plants put more of their resources into pollinated fruits, increasing quality and taste.

  1. Bees and pollinators need favorable environments to be happyGreen apples in wooden box

Pollinators such as bees and butterflies need good resources, places that are have many flowers with lots of pollen and nectar. They need a place to nest and to eat, and a natural, non-toxic environment. One hundred years ago, there were many small, diverse and pesticide-free farms that were very favorable for pollinators. There are small farms that can still be found today in developing countries such as Kenya.

  1. Their biggest threats

Monocropping is the agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land, pesticides in wide use and higher temperatures associated with climate change are all problems for bee populations and the quality of food we grow. Declining pollination poses a threat to human nutrition. If this trend continues, nutritious crops such as fruits, nuts and many vegetable crops will be substituted by staple crops like rice, corn and potatoes, eventually resulting in an imbalanced diet.

  1. Protection measures for farmers and governments

For farmers: Farmers should create a good habitat for bees in order to ensure pollination. Recommended practices include leaving some areas under natural habitat, creating hedgerows, reducing or changing the usage of pesticides, leaving nesting sites and planting attractive crops such as cassava around the field.

On a policy level: Based on a report by the intergovernmental platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service, governments should support a more diverse agriculture and depend less on toxic chemicals in order to facilitate an increase in pollination, leading to improved food quality and a surge in food quantity.

Teaching farmers to value pollinators and apply methods to keep them buzzing around the farm year-round is increasingly important. They need to see bees as allies rather than their enemies.

How can we do more to help?

In order to try to attract more bees, I have planted marigolds and nasturtium on my Tower Gardens and right next to them I have potted lavender and coreopsis bushes. Also nearby there are two lantana plants.

The UN has suggested we can help individually by:

planting a diverse set of native plants, which flower at different times of the year;

buying raw honey from local farmers;honey jar

buying products from sustainable agricultural practices;

avoiding pesticides, fungicides or herbicides in our gardens;

protecting wild bee colonies when possible;

sponsoring a hive;

making a bee water fountain by leaving a water bowl outside;

helping sustaining forest ecosystems;

raising awareness around us by sharing this information within our communities and networks.

The decline of bees affects us all!

The UN has designated May 20 as Bee Day because this date coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.

Gwen O’Neill has been a gardener for over 40 years and has always been a passionate cook. Her own health challenges led her to experiencing a variety of healing modalities. After finding that her health improved with eating more whole food and improving her nutrition using a real, whole food based supplement called Juice Plus, she committed to sharing this experience with others. The Tower Garden by Juice Plus makes it easy to grow produce right outside your kitchen door.tower garden trio

Juice Plus real food!




trio plus omega pic

Juice Plus real food!





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