How We’re Protecting Our Pollinators

See what we’re doing to protect honeybees and other pollinators, plus how we’re raising awareness for the critical role they play in our lives.

As the world’s leading natural and organic food retailer for over 40 years, we understand how critical bees and other pollinators are to our food system. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture opens in a new tab, one out of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators. However, these populations are currently facing massive declines.

Through a long-standing commitment to organics and strong collaboration with technical experts, academics, industry organizations and our suppliers, we’re taking steps to save honeybees and help ensure the future of our food.

Why Are Pollinators Important?

Honeybees pollinate more than 100 types of crops in the U.S. — but they can’t do it alone. Other types of pollinators like moths, butterflies, fireflies and hummingbirds work alongside them, helping to maintain the diversity of plant life and playing crucial roles in our ecosystem.

Our Pollinator Policy

In 2023, Whole Foods Market announced our commitment to supporting pollinator health in recognition of the critical role they play in our food system. Under our policy, by 2025, we will require all fresh produce and floral suppliers to implement an integrated pest management (IPM) system, which prioritizes preventative and biological pest control measures and reduces the need for chemical pesticides. We also encourage all fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids, or “neonics” as they’re often called. These are a group of pesticides that are particularly harmful to pollinators. For potted plants, we will prohibit the use of these neonics by 2025. You can find our full policy here opens in a new tab.

Our Commitment to Organics

According to a 2015 report from The Organic Center opens in a new tab, organic farming practices have been shown to be effective in maintaining the health and population of important crop pollinators, including honeybees. At Whole Foods Market, we are deeply committed to organic products and the expansion of the organic food industry.

We also provide financial and operational support to organizations dedicated to supporting and strengthening the organic industry, including research on organic practices and guidance on transitioning to organic agriculture. Some of the organizations we support include:

Learn more about our commitment to organic products.

produce department in store with and without bees
For our “A Market Without Bees” campaign, we temporarily removed all fruits and vegetables from plants dependent on honeybees and other pollinators in our University Heights Whole Foods Market store.

Our Campaigns to Raise Awareness

We work with our foundations and internationally recognized third parties to create campaigns that raise awareness of pollinators and the critical role they play in our food system. Learn more about our campaigns to save honeybees and other pollinators below.

Xerces Society: A Market Without Bees

We also work with trusted collaborators, like the Xerces Society opens in a new tab, on campaigns that educate our customers by helping them visualize what would happen to grocery stores opens in a new tab, salad bars opens in a new tab, summer picnics opens in a new tab and even your morning cup of coffee opens in a new tab if pollinators vanished.

Whole Kids Foundation: Bee Grant Program

Since 2014, the Whole Kids Bee Grant program opens in a new tab has awarded more than 850 educational beehives to schools and nonprofits with support from The Bee Cause Project opens in a new tab. Schools that host educational beehives use them as an effective tool for kids to observe bees up close and learn about the vital role bees and other pollinators play in our food system.

Outside the classroom, Whole Kids is bringing the wonder of bees and their hives up close to more kids and families with the World of Honey Bees opens in a new tab, a hive-full of honey bee education, activities, and tutorials about how these pollinators are crucially important to the future of our food.

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