Without bees, breakfast would be bland, lunch would be limited and dinner would be dismal. Bees pollinate more than 100 types of crops in the US, from the almonds in your granola to the berries atop your favorite dessert. Yet US honey bee colonies are declining at an annual rate of 30% or more.
As an industry leader in natural and organic foods, Whole Foods Market® is passionate about raising honey bee awareness, taking action and helping our communities “bee the solution.”
The Mystery of the Disappearing Bees
In late 2006, North American beekeepers witnessed a mysterious phenomenon: in certain colonies, adult bees abruptly vanished, leaving the queen and her brood in an otherwise deserted hive.
This syndrome, known as “Colony Collapse Disorder,” focused international attention on honey bee populations, which have been declining for decades.
Today, scientists and beekeepers theorize that honey bee decline is caused by a combination of factors, including parasites, loss of crop diversity and increased exposure to systemic pesticides.
Where would we be without Bees?
The lives of bees and humans are intricately linked. One out of every three bites of food is pollinated by bees and other pollinators. Bees are vital to the reproduction of clover and alfalfa, which feed grazing animals, and to the diverse ecosystems that sustain wildlife.
Throughout human history, bees have been revered for their precision, productivity and communal intelligence…not to mention honey, beeswax, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Egyptian pharaohs inscribed images of bees on royal seals. In Greek mythology, bees were associated with deities and divination.
Hive Mind: Our Partnerships for Pollinators
Whole Foods Market has a history of holistic thinking about food. In fact, caring for the environment and creating win/win partnerships are two of our Core Values, and we’ve been supporting organic farmers since 1980. In our efforts to support honey bees, we’re fortunate to have lots of help.
Our nonprofit partner, The Xerces Society, protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. The Society advocates on behalf of bees and other pollinators by publishing research, lobbying lawmakers and educating land stewards to restore the landscape for the benefit of pollinators.
Simple Ways to Bee the Solution
Go organic. By choosing organic food, you’re supporting farm practices that promote healthy ecosystems and avoid toxic and persistent pesticides.
Bee a leader. Encourage your community to plant pollinator-friendly flowers at schools, parks, businesses and golf courses.
Host a hive. The backyard beekeeping movement is growing! Look for local communities online and consult books like The Practical Beekeeper for in-depth information.
Bee generous. Help fund a state-of-the-art Bee Research and Discovery Center at the University of Minnesota.
Mix it up. Plant bee-friendly flowers with different colors, shapes and bloom times. Visit our Floral Department or Garden Center for high-quality seeds and plants suited to your local climate. Ask for a bee-friendly list!
Bee a smart shopper. Several suppliers have donated funds to support honey bee preservation. Look for “Share the Buzz” signs on their products throughout the store.
Don’t spray it! Pesticides can impact bees’ learning and foraging skills. If you can, skip the pesticides all together.
Bee sweet. Visit our Allegro® coffee bar for a limited edition coffee with 365 Everyday Value® Organic Honey. For every Café con Miel sold, Allegro will donate 25¢ to Whole Kids Foundation® to support bee hive grants for schools.
Partnerships for Pollinators
Did you know that pollinators (mostly bees) are needed for more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species? These Whole Foods Market® supplier partners are helping to fund preservation of declining honey bee populations. Choose their products and help “bee the solution!”
Our Queen Bee and Worker Bee sponsors donated nearly $100K to help The Xerces Society provide bee-friendly tools and education to our farmer partners.