More schools are clearing areas on their grounds for educational gardens that show students how food is grown and harvested. While learning about where fruits and vegetables come from, students are also learning about the honeybee, the tiny insect that plays a major role in domestic and international food supply. These children are discovering that bees are as important to fruit and vegetable growth as are water and sunlight.
According to experts, one in every three bites of food taken is directly or indirectly dependent upon pollination. Whole Foods Market is taking bee education to the next level with its Whole Kids Foundation Honey Bee Grant Program, an extension of its established School Garden Grant Program. In the coming year, approximately 50 schools will receive grants for hosting beehives to enhance their educational gardens and serve as teaching tools.
While honeybees do have stingers, they are generally very docile and can peacefully coexist with students tending to a garden. Honeybee education has become more important due to the decline in bee populations. By tending to school beehives and observing the activity of the honeybees students learn important lessons related to agriculture, biology, ecology, and nutrition. They even learn about business by understanding how pollination affects crop yield.
Consumers can lend their support to this program by ordering a Café con Miel latte from the coffee bar at a local Whole Foods Market between June 12 and 25. For every cup of this coffee with honey sold Whole Foods Foundation will donate 25 cents. To enjoy the taste of coffee with honey at home, purchase plain or cinnamon raw manuka honey and add a spoonful to coffee in place of sugar.
With the right seeds, anyone can create a bee garden at home. This provides pollen and nectar to nourish the tiny insects and offers shelter from predators. Researchers say that planting bee gardens throughout a community can increase the diversity of local bees even if the gardens are located in an urban area.
Though the best manuka honey is made in New Zealand, consumers in the U.S. help this industry when they purchase these products online and make efforts to increase the bee population. Supporting beekeeping at a local school, helping to fund related grants, and creating a bee garden at home are just a few things that anyone can do to keep these tiny insects alive and thriving. Let’s create a buzz!