The day after New Year’s Willy West hosted its very first Green Thursday for 2014. At that event we featured a wonderful documentary entitled: Queen of the Sun. The room was standing room only and the audience was clearly impressed with the message of the film. Scenes from all around the world showed honeybees and other pollinators in action working as partners with plants to produce seeds and fruit. Many of us are aware already of the problems honeybees are having even surviving normal environmental events and huge problems overcoming human-made threats, but I think we are rarely exposed to solutions each of us can participate in.
Past articles in our Reader have mentioned Colony Collapse Disorder and what it has done to hives. Disoriented and confused, bees are failing to return to the hives and the bees in the hive are perishing. There are numerous theories and a great deal of denial, blame, and apathy too. Queen of the Sun takes you from deep sadness to reverence and finally to determination. I promise you will have a new appreciation for organics, non-GMOs, beekeepers, and honey. I want to bring to your attention something more.
A speaker in the film named Vandana Shiva made the economics of GMOs crystal clear in just a few short words. She said that GMO seed has created “Economics of Scarcity.” By the use of gene guns, scientists are cutting out the pollinator, rendering the final product sterile, and making the seed products a profit center. Out of Science into profit.
The historic role of the pollinator is to create the seeds by enabling the plants to share DNA across miles of individuals. This mixing favors the healthiest plants which have evolved to attract the bee. It keeps the pool of characteristics healthy. It is economics based on collective sharing and abundance. Out of one seed comes many next time.
We talked in the room after the movie. One thing we touched on was that mono-cropping thousands of acres of corn and soybean and wheat does not do bees any good at all. To them these are deserts. There was a segment that covered almonds. Millions of bees must be trucked in to pollinate the trees to get the almond, and to feed the bees while they wait for the almond flowers, they give them high fructose corn syrup laced with antibiotics. It’s a race to keep them alive long enough so they can work to create the crop. One more example of Big Ag gone mad.
So here’s what we need more than ever to do:
Grow flowers to feed the bees! Driving home, I pass by miles of land and almost NO flowers. The cities have more flowers than the country now. Let’s change that. Buy some flower seeds and give them away to people who’ll plant them. Grow flowers everywhere you can. Add them to your vegetable garden. And keep bees if you can.
Here are seeds to get that bees love:
- Perennials: All spring bulbs, anise hyssop, asters, berries, chives, coreopsis, dandelion, gaillardia, globe thistle, goldenrod, hazelnut, lavender, melissa, mint, monarda (they love this), obedient plant, rose mallow, rosemary, rudebekia, Russian sage, sedum, sunflower, sweet clover, thyme, white clover, and there are hundreds more!
- Annuals: arugula, basil, borage, buckwheat, canola, cleome, cornflower (bachelor buttons), flax, cosmos, mustard, sunflower, poppies, scabiosa, verbena, and my favorite, zinnia.
Stop in on Green Thursday for our award event for the Middleton Water Conservation Challenge on Thursday, February 6th. The Sustainability Committee will be awarding a low-flow toilet to the winner. There will be landscape people there you can speak with about rain gardens and flower gardens. Let’s feed some bees!