Honeybees: Directly Serving the Highline Food Bank

Our original mission was to introduce a healthy habitat for Honeybees but lately our goals have shifted. Here was one of the early drafts of the Mission Approach we had agreed on oh so long ago!

Honeybees: Directly Serving the Highline Food Bank

Honeybee gardens are an effective method of stimulating local bee populations. In addition to serving the local CCD epidemic, the Highline food bank could become a pioneer in local conservation work. Honeybees and gardens are two interconnected ecosystems that rely heavily on interactions from both sides to sustain.

As stated before, Honeybees are extremely efficient pollinators. Gardeners have known for thousands of years that the secret to a high-yielding garden begins with the organisms and pollinators overlaying the garden ecosystem. It is believed that having bees on site doubles typical garden yields.

In an investigational report conducted by the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Alabama University, researchers concluded that there were significant gains in production yields after isolating portions of a cotton field with honeybees. Honeybee activities in relation to production yields were consistent in this two year study- with extra emphasis on the benefits of proximity and range of the hive to the cotton crops.

Although this study only outlines a specific crop (the cotton), it is very important to note that honeybees are well adapted to pollinate over 100 different species of crops including: walnuts, apples, blueberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Furthermore, a Honeybee Garden is a great space for community members to come together to embark on an environmental journey that has been around for thousands of years. A garden at the Highline Food Bank would be a great way to drive the volunteer base by including another aspect of volunteer work that easily speaks to a wide range of people.

Gardeners have a greater sense of health and environmental concerns. Studies have shown great benefits in young adults who display an active participation in gardening. The Department of Horticulture and Cooperative Extension at Cornell University had recently developed curriculums based on 4 key concepts that can be taught in the garden. These four key concepts were: “Mastery:  Learning by doing”, “Belonging: Cultivating Relationships”, “Generosity:  Gestures of thoughtfulness & shared responsibility”, “Power:  Authentic youth engagement & decision-making”. Gardening empowers individuals to be environmental stewards of the world.

Using this garden as an outlet for environmental awareness also connects people in the long run to provide for themselves. With the decrease of honeybee population (and other crop pollinators), healthy food is becoming increasingly expensive. Gardening is a low-rent solution to defer some of the financial burdens of freshly purchased fruits and vegetables.

Above all, this garden site is a great opportunity for people who want to garden or volunteer in their free time. It is a realistic to say that not everyone can plow away a piece of land and garden for pleasure, but by creating these opportunities, people can continue a long time honored tradition in agriculture.


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