You knew it was National Pollinator Week, right? Well, ok, it’s possible some of you might have missed the memo on that one, but let’s take a brief moment to honor our flying friends that make delicious food possible. Did you know Pumpkin Pie couldn’t exist without pollinators like bees and butterflies? That’s enough to make us want to hug every last bee we see, come what may with the stingers. Pumpkin Pie is worth it. I eat it every year for my birthday instead of cake…
A few years ago, I candidly didn’t know much about pollinators until I was fortunate to receive a new work assignment. I began managing the Cascadian Farm organic brand for General Mills and learned about the crucial role pollinators play as one of the biggest allies Mother Nature provides in cultivating an enormous number of our favorite foods. In fact, we did the math on Cascadian Farm and found that 90% of our products (granola, cereal, snack bars, frozen fruit and vegetables) were dependent on bees and pollinators in some way. Wow!
It also became rather apparent that bees, butterflies, and other pollinators had seen better days. Our world’s industrialized agricultural addiction, an over-reliance on pesticides, and a string of dangerous parasite infestations had all-of-a-sudden threatened the very existence of several species of pollinators. Without them our ecosystem is far more fragile than we often realize.
Our team at Cascadian Farm decided to do something about it. We partnered with the Xerces Society to learn more about the issue, launched a cereal at Whole Foods to raise awareness about bees, created a cause platform called Bee Friendlier to trigger donations from all Cascadian Farm purchases, and looked for a way that we could quickly spread the word.
We discovered that the #1 thing we could do to help the bees was to plant wildflowers. So we decided to plant a lot of them and do it in a way that would make a splash. We found an organic farm in California hoping to attract more bees and native pollinators to help their organic fields thrive. We also found a creative company making a product called Seedles to help grow wildflowers virtually anywhere as a way to help bees find more food. Throw in a crop-duster that we retro-fitted to drop these Seedles from the sky, and this is what happened:
Dropping bombs remains one of my fondest memories of working for Cascadian Farm and General Mills, and it’s exciting to see them continue to make a big impact for bees today.
Father Time Bread relies on incredibly high quality, local, raw honey instead of using sugar in our bread. We love bees and we need bees – lots of them – to create the right flavor and texture for the greatest loaf on earth. That’s why one of our brand mascots is this lovely bee character designed to help our kids grow to love rather than fear bees.
Our cute little bee is also a reminder that when we partner with nature as an ally rather than as an adversary, good things happen from our fields to our kitchens. And our tummies are forever grateful.
Planting wildflowers can help create a Pollinator Paradise wherever you are. Here are some resources to help you plant wildflowers: