Local farmer Megan Paska has witnessed beekeeping as it morphed from an illegal (and possibly crazy) habit to a sustainable, community-supported skill. Mirroring beekeeping’s own ascendance, she found more than just a living: “This is the first time in my life when I’ve just felt absolutely on the right path.”
Bees are nearing a “crises,” prompting the government to spend millions on a massive data base and asking beekeepers on March 27 for advice on how to save them and prevent the nation’s agriculture from collapsing.
Honeybees are critical in agriculture. The value of crops in U.S. agriculture that depend on their pollination is $19 billion, according to USDA estimates. Worldwide that crop value is $217 billion.
Facing this, Congress and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) took action last year, granting $5.6 million to establish a national, massive data base under the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) program.
The goal is simple: “Get information collected from beekeepers back to beekeepers quickly so they can make more informed decisions.”
Wikipedia lists over 125 mainstream foods that depend on bee pollination, among them:
Coffee, chocolate (cocoa), apple, pear, watermelon, avocado, grape, tomato, onion, broccoli, pepper, lemon, lime, strawberry, soybean, and blueberry.
Other major foods:
Okra, celery, kiwi, cashew, almond, beet, mustard, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprout, papaya, chestnut, tangerine, coconut, coriander, hazelnut, cantaloupe, melon, cucumber, squash, carrot, persimmon, fig, strawberry, cotton, sunflower, walnut, lychee, macadamia, mango, passion fruit, bean (lima, kidney, string), apricot, cherry, plum, guava, pomegranate, boysenberry, raspberry, blackberry, cranberry, eggplant, vanilla, jujube.