Preserving the Environment

Why This Grocery Chain Wants to Install Beehives in School Gardens

June 20, 2014
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Why This Grocery Chain Wants to Install Beehives in School Gardens
Whole Foods Market's new Honey Bee Grant Program helps kids get buzzed about where their food comes from. Getty Images
Whole Foods Market's new Honey Bee Grant Program helps kids get buzzed about where their food comes from.

Bees do so much more than make that sweet goop that goes so well with tea and crumpets. They also pollinate apples, berries, melons and about a hundred other crops that make our meals healthier more delicious, and more colorful.

We owe a lot to our honey bees. In fact, they pollinate approximately $15 billion worth of produce in the country each year — or about a quarter of the food we consume.

But, as you might know, honey bee populations around the world are dipping at devastating rates. And if these worrying trends continue, this is what your grocery store would look like: Half-empty.

MORE: Can Spending Millions of Dollars on Flowers Help Save the Honeybee?

That’s why Whole Foods Market is trying to get us — and their youngest consumers — buzzed about bees in their Share the Buzz awareness campaign.

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The grocery chain also announced a new initiative, the Honey Bee Grant Program, to educate youngsters about the importance of the honey bee.

In a recent announcement, the Whole Kids Foundation said they will award approximately 50 hive grants to school gardens across the country in order to teach kids how to raise bees and tend hives. The added bonus? As kids learn how to take care of their fuzzy friends, they also learn lessons on pollination, agriculture, ecology, and nutrition.

ALSO: Meet the Scientists Who Are Tackling Our Disappearing Bee Problem

“You can’t learn about growing fruits and vegetables without learning about bees,” said Jeff Miller, a beekeeper and educator at the non-profit DC Honeybees in Washington, D.C., in the announcement. “Bees are as important to the process as sun and water.”

As the foundation notes, any parent who is worried about exposing their kids to stinging insects should note that bees are naturally docile and, that with proper supervision, kids and bees can peacefully coexist.

Saving the bees and educating children at the same time — sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?

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