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Antioch College becomes Official Bee-Friendly, Neonic-Free Campus

April 27th, 2016
Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety Certifies under BEE Protective Campaign.

WASHINGTON–Center for Food Safety (CFS) celebrates Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio for becoming a designated neonicotinoid-free campus. This recognition comes from the BEE Protective Campaign, a program led by Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides known to have severe impacts on bee populations.

“At Antioch College, we have an opportunity, and an urgency, to be change leaders in turning around pollinator decline, exposing misleading research and recognizing the importance of interspecies cooperation. To paraphrase our president Thomas Manley, ‘if we are not leaders in discovering and implementing new and better ways of living , then what is the point?’,” said Beth Bridgeman, the faculty member who drove the effort to ban neonicotinoids from campus.

The college is home to a 5-acre solar farm and a central geothermal plant, the 1000-acre Glen Helen Nature Preserve, and a campus Bee Club. Additionally, the Antioch Farm functions as a living laboratory where students practice sustainability-focused growing methods. All of the produce, eggs, pastured lamb, and culinary and tea herbs grown there are served in the dining halls, traveling 1,500 feet from farm-to-table. A student-driven pollinator pathway has also been built on the edge of the Farm.

“These kinds of institutional commitments are huge for the future of bees and other essential pollinators,” said Larissa Walker, pollinator program director at Center for Food Safety. “Antioch College is clearly a visionary, taking tremendous strides to protect pollinators and to be a positive force in the sustainable food movement. We applaud the college and the model that their campus is becoming.”

One in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, and the annual value of pollination services worldwide is estimated at over $125 billion. In the United States, pollination contributes $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides known to have acute and chronic effects on honey bees and other pollinators, and are considered a major factor in bee population declines and poor health. Numerous cities, municipalities, campuses and other institutions across the U.S. have taken action to restrict and reduce the use of neonicotinoids in order to protect pollinators.

Joining the BEE-Protective Campaign is the latest in a series of major steps Antioch College has taken to make the campus a model of sustainability and leader in the food movement. In 2015, Antioch signed the Real Food Campus Commitment, joining other institutions of higher education in accepting the Real Food Challenge; a national initiative to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources by 2020. Antioch is second in the nation in terms of “Real Food” served on campus. Also in 2015, the College signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, an effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global warming.

BEE Protective is a national campaign established by Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides, and works with municipalities, campuses, and homeowners to adopt policies that protect pollinators from bee-toxic pesticides. For more information about the campaign, visit http://bit.ly/1kp3gSV.

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