I was hiking just last Tuesday and I stopped (conveniently at the top of the hill- because exercise) and listened. The whole world was humming. It was as if the world was vibrating with life. It is the familiar sound that comes with spring and continues through the summer. It is when everything and everyone has a little bit more life and energy in them.
Now, what if that sound stopped? What if the Earth stopped humming its happy life-giving song? Well, take a moment, look closer. What is the chorus to that hum? If you see what I do it is those wonderful bumble and honey bees I love so much. They are transporting life from place to place spreading their energy.
With the massive decline off bees I have become more and more aware of every time I find local bee keepers. So, it is no shock that last Saturday at our local farmers market I happened upon a local keeper in the area who is doing more than just sustaining a few hives.
Not only are they sustaining their hives and creating amazing honey (some with infusions– we just used their jalapeno honey to grill chicken with: YUM) they are also part of The SAVE Farm. The SAVE Farm stands for Service-member Agricultural Vocation Education. It is an educational farm that takes service members (and sometimes dependents as well) and teaches them skills to enter the farming industry and start a career.
This is also meant to be a place of healing, to re-integrate members into a society where they feel they have a purpose again. Lastly, they help place and transition the graduating members of a program into working farms. They don’t limit who can participate either with equipment designed for those who may have disabilities.
They work on a variety of avenues in farming that include livestock, vegetables, apiaries, orchards and croplands. My favorite part is the training in beekeeping! Veterans are given the opportunity to live on the farm as they learn and grow, with a Healing Center and counseling also available to them.
Now how can we help?
If you are in the Manhattan, Kansas area consider volunteering some of your time. I will be in the coming weeks and will be back with an update on what I learn.
According to SOS-bees.org, in the United States alone the honey bee population has dropped by 40% since 2006. And now, as many of us saw, the first bee has even been put on the endangered species list. This should be a reason for serious concern.
Most of us are probably thinking about bad experiences with bees, bee stings, and the high number of people and animals who are allergic. This is such a small problem though in comparison to a life without our precious bee population.
Why should we be concerned? Why should we act now? Well..
One-third of all food production depends on the pollination provided by bees. Let me say that again ONE-THIRD OF ALL FOOD PRODUCTION. Could you imagine a world with that much less? We already have a massive hunger problem in all corners of the world. If you go to foodaidfoundation.org they have actually stated that about one in nine people in the world do not have enough food to live an active life. So with a little math, a world without bees that would bring us to one out of every six people who would be underfed.
Now, there have been attempts to pollinate crops in other ways. Some people have actually resorted to hand pollination in dire circumstances. This means they are taking paint brushes out in the field to pollinate crops by hand. However, it is high cost for a very low return.
Now for the most important part. Hope. Our bees are not gone yet, and there are a multitude of things we can do to help save them!
Support Greenpeace. Ugh, I can only say fantastic things about this organization. They are doing such wonderful things for our planet. But don’t just take my word for it! Check out: greenpeace.org/usa The best part is in supporting them you are supporting more than just the bees, you are helping the water, the Artic, and so much more life here on Earth.
Shop organically for honey. Even better, buy honey from a local bee keeper at your farmers market. Spending a dollar or two extra on this sweet goodness will support your local bee population and help sustain the hives in your area.
Plant bee friendly flowers. Now I am by no means a gardener but some of these are even easy for me to keep alive! (I have lavender and daisies) But for a list of 25 visit beefriendly.ca
Shop these brands who are doing their part to SAVE THE BEES:
Haagen-dazs— ice cream that is also doing good? That is something I can get behind!
Me & The Bees Lemonade
Burt’s Bees ( pretty sure my husband’s chap-stick addiction alone is keeping this company in business)
General Mills— Hello Cheerios!
Friends of Honeybees
Sweet Home Farm
Justin’s– I know you all love your nut-butters!
Savannah Bee Company (I have 6 of their chap-stick tubes and am obsessed– Mint Julip is my favorite!)
Know of any more?! Tell me about it! Email me at: email@example.com
Next week we will continue our topic of the bees by talking about The SAVE Farm, and their mission. (Fun fact: It was a total God-moment meeting these guys by chance at a farmers market here in Kansas while I was writing this article!)