From June 18th to June 24th, communities across the world will be observing Pollinator Week. The Pollinator Partnership, who initiated the week in 2007, describe it on their website:
"National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them. Eleven years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as 'National Pollinator Week' marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles."
While we tend to associate pollination with bees--and specifically honeybees--pollination is actually a form of food production labor engaged in by a wide variety of bees, wasps, moths, bats, birds, and other animals. You can learn more about pollinators and their vital role in our food system by visiting the Pollinator Partnership's information page.
More Than Just Local Honey
While honeybees do work as pollinators, and while sourcing honey or other bee products locally can help manage colony collapse disorder (CCD) by lessening the honeybees' exposure to devastating labor and environmental conditions, our support of pollinators must go beyond buying products from local honeybee-keepers.
When it comes to anything bee-related, most of us have a tendency to think in terms of honey, not pollination. This is because we have grown up in a culture often separated from its food production, and which conceptualizes animals as products or the immediate producers of products we can profit from, not as laborers performing work that literally prevents our global food system from collapsing.
This Pollinator Week, I am challenging myself and anyone else of like mind to take greater steps throughout the year to think about and support our pollinating laborers. Just as concern about CCD has translated to economic support for backyard honeybee-keepers, so too do we need to expand this localized market to include the food industrially farmed honeybees are employed to pollinate. That is to say, even if our honey is sourced locally, our pollinated fruits and vegetables often are not, which means other honeybees are still being exposed to great risk of CCD to feed us, and wild pollinator populations continue to be devastated by the impact of this agricultural system as a whole.
Doing our part as consumers, farmers, home gardeners, and community advocates, we can build up local food systems to replace unsustainable agribusinesses. With these food systems must come localized pollinator networks, and action that recognizes the interconnectedness of soil health, crop management, farmed bees, and wild bees along with other neighborhood pollinators.
We can create a healthier food web where labor, pollination, food, and land management are all rooted in the community. I hope you'll join me this Pollinator Week in looking for more ways to get involved.
Bodywork For the Bees--Promotion
I am also excited to announce that I will be offering a $15 'wild bee advocate' discount off any 60-minute massage therapy session booked with me during Pollinator Week 2018. There are two ways to claim the discount: (1) take home a homemade bee hotel for your garden, or (2) take a "Support Wild Bees" bumper sticker for your vehicle, water bottle, or compost bin. Offer good while supplies last between June 18th-June 24th, 2018. Contact me to book a session.
Together we can raise awareness about wild bees!
For more information on wild bees, please check out my information page.