National Pollinator Week is here! It is a time to celebrate pollinators, the diverse diets they support, and spread the word about how we can protect them.
Without pollinators, like the honey bee, we wouldn’t have almonds. In fact, 35 percent of the world’s food crops rely on pollinators to some degree. From apples and cherries to sunflowers and citrus, honey bees play an important role in our food supply and in healthy, diverse diets.
Given their essential role in almond pollination, Almond Board of California (ABC) has funded over 100 research projects supporting honey bees, more than any other crop group,1 and farmers have widely adopted practices to protect bees in the orchard and beyond. More than 90 percent of almond farms provide clean water for bees to drink and cool themselves while pollinating2 and farmers have planted nearly 20,000 acres of bee pastures, which is an additional food source for honey bees before and after almond bloom.3
Another way that the almond community supports pollinators is by being part of the honey bee health conversation. ABC has partnered with more than 20 organizations to support bee health including universities, government agencies, nonprofits, and beekeeping groups, and participates in events and summits to collaborate on solutions that will help to achieve a healthy population of honey bees.
At the recent Sustainable Brands conference in Vancouver, Bob Curtis, Director of Agricultural Affairs at ABC, moderated a panel titled “The Impacts of Bee Health and What Brands Can Do.”
This panel tackled the subject of cross-industry collaborations and how brands, researchers, and nonprofits are partnering to develop solutions to enhance bee health for a thriving agricultural system and beyond. It featured experts in honey bees and sustainability, including:
- Neal Williams, Professor of Pollination and Bee Biology at University of California, Davis
- Tina Owens, Director of Sustainability and Strategic Sourcing at Kashi Company
- Danielle Downey, Executive Director at Project Apis m.
- Matthew Mulica, Policy Facilitator at Keystone Policy Center, Honey Bee Health Coalition
Events like Sustainable Brands are important because they foster the sharing of knowledge and collaboration critical to protecting our pollination partners. In addition, partnerships increase trust, build efficiencies, and leverage greater benefits for honey bee health.
During the session, panelists offered up several tips and best practices for ensuring the well-being of pollinators in supply chains:
- Supporting pollinator research and programs through universities
- Participating as a collaborative member of cross-stakeholder bee health organizations
- Partnering to expand pollinator habitat programs
- Ensuring responsible farming and beekeeping practices with suppliers
For more on how the almond community supports honey bee health, check out the video below, or click here to learn more.
1Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation.
2California Almond Sustainability Program. Aug. 2017.
3Billy Synk. Director of Pollination Services. Project Apis m. Jan 2017.