Today marks the launch of Buzzing Gardens, a national program spearheaded by Bees Matter that provides Canadians with free seeds to plant pollinator-friendly gardens. Farmers, beekeepers, and several agricultural organizations have come together in support of honeybee health and are taking action to help improve access to nutritious food sources.
“As we feed a growing population both at home and around the world, the agricultural community recognizes the importance of pollinators, like honeybees, who are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat,” says Greg Sekulic, Bees Matter spokesperson. “The Buzzing Gardens program is our way of helping Canadians get involved in supporting honeybees, just as the agriculture community has always done.”
Statistics Canada reports honeybee colony numbers across the country are increasing, but honeybee health is very complex and every Canadian can play a role in keeping honeybees healthy. Most bee health experts agree that there is no single factor affecting honeybee health. Instead, parasites like the deadly varroa mite, diseases, harsh weather, incorrect use of pesticides and inadequate nutrition all affect honeybee colonies.
“We are proud to support the Buzzing Gardens program and work with the agriculture community to ensure honeybees get the nutrition they need,” says Kevin Nixon, chair of the Canadian Honey Council. “Bee health is complex, with many factors affecting it. Having nutritious sources of food is critical to hive health and ensuring honeybee colonies continue to thrive.”
Now, through the Buzzing Gardens program, Canadians can do their part by visiting www.beesmatter.ca and ordering a free Buzzing Garden seed packet. Each seed packet contains seasonal and perennial seeds to plant a 5 sq. ft. garden that has been approved by Pollinator Partnership Canada to attract and feed pollinators no matter what province or community you live in.
Communities in Bloom is also partnering with the Buzzing Gardens program to help increase the number of pollinator gardens.
Bees need agriculture and agriculture needs bees. Farmers and beekeepers have a long history of working together to protect pollinators, like the honeybee. Farmers across Canada have welcomed beekeepers to place hives on their farmland, so honeybees can be close to nutritious food sources like canola.
For more information about Bees Matter, the Buzzing Gardens program and to learn about honeybee health visit www.beesmatter.ca