To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, "Made by Pollinators," to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurants' patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora.
Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world's food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination.
A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 –the second highest loss to date. Numerous studies find that commonly used pesticides – both agricultural and residential pesticides – are a major contributing factor in pollinator declines.
Busboys and Poets said, "Without bees, we wouldn't be able to serve 99% of our menu. Our participation in Pollinator Week is a small step toward a movement to promote the health of our planet's ecosystems."
Nora Pouillon, owner and founder of Restaurant Nora, said, "Bees are the most important thing for sustainable food growth, which is one of the reasons I source 100% organic food, free of pesticides that may cause pollinators harm. . . My business partner takes it one step further and raises bees." Restaurant Nora is America's first certified organic restaurant, committed to serving environmentally conscious cuisine for nearly 40 years.
The Tabard Inn said, "We believe it is important for us and our future generations to protect our environment and encourage smart use of our resources . . . By collaborating with local organic farmers, national organizations, and specialized purveyors, we aim to better the quality of our products, and ultimately everyone's health. We strive to use pesticide-free, environmentally-responsible products."
Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides said, "We deeply appreciate the leadership of these restaurants in protecting bees by sourcing organic and sustainable food, while educating their patrons on the importance of bees in our food system and what they can do to protect pollinators."
National Pollinator Week began ten years ago when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the designation to protect pollinator populations. It has since grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and all other pollinator species.
For more information, see www.beeprotective.org.
Photo: Jesse Christopherson ©