Saturday, March 12, 2011

Save the Bees!

I usually keep my blog pretty nice and touchy-feely.  But, as a beekeeper myself - and dealing with all the issues that bees are facing - I felt that that this was an important issue to put out.

We're starting ten hives this spring - you'll get lots of pictures and information - and I sure would like to increase their numbers!

~I apologize that this post didn't fit within the post's borders.  I cut and pasted it and don't want to spend a couple of hours making it fit   :  )

Slow Food USA
Dear Sharon,
As a lifelong beekeeper, I'm worried. Nearly a third of all honeybee colonies in North America are dying every year.'Colony Collapse Disorder’ is a major contributor to these deaths, and while there is still no scientific consensus as to the cause, keeping pollinators healthy is crucial not just for our Co-op but also for the health of our environment and the future of our food.
Honeybees pollinate many of the foods we eat - from apples to chestnuts to raspberries and squash. That's why I'm asking you today to join Slow Food USA's campaign to save the bees, and our food chain:
A growing body of scientific evidence points to a certain class of agricultural pesticides (neonicotinoids) as one of the key culprits of CCD. Even the Environmental Protection Agency’s own scientists have spoken out against it. But the EPA isn’t doing enough to prevent more devastating honeybee die-offs in the years to come. Would you join me in asking the EPA to act quickly to save the bees?
Let’s keep the pressure on ourselves and on those whose job it is to keep our food and fields healthy, until the origins of this environmental catastrophe are understood and eliminated. Please join me in signing Slow Food USA's petition to the EPA, before it's too late to save the bees. You can see their original email below.
I manage a self-sufficient beekeeping cooperative in the city of Chicago that produces more than just honey. Our Co-op also provides healthy food and job training experiences for our neighbors in the community where we are located. Our hives are on an abandoned industrial property in a neighborhood that has seen better days. We also take care of bees on rooftops in downtown Chicago.
For the past several years, we have been losing nearly 50% of our hives each winter. This is an alarming trend I haven’t experienced in a lifetime of keeping bees. The worst thing is, we can’t even identify the cause. That's why we need the EPA to work quickly to identify the cause of CCD. Will you join me in signing the petition to save the bees?
Thanks for taking action,
Michael S. Thompson
Chicago Honey Co-Op

-------- Original email from Slow Food USA -------------
Dear Sharon,
Spring's going to be a lot quieter this year. Something is killing off almost 40% of North American honeybees each year, and it's threatening our entire food chain. Mounting scientific evidence suggestsagricultural pesticides are one a primary culprit.
The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to investigate and ban the pesticides thought to be responsible but, despite their own scientists' advice and under pressure from pesticides companies,they're dragging their feet.
Much of the plant-life we depend on for food exists thanks to honeybees. Now the bees are depending on us to return the favor. Click here to sign our petition calling on the EPA to solve the mystery that's killing our buzz:
Bees don't just make honey: from apples to lemons, much of the food we eat may disappear with the bees. Even milk and beef production could be threatened: guess what makes the plants that feed the cows? Our friend the honeybee.
What's more, bees add $15 billion to the annual US economy, and their loss will have a devastating impact on food production and food prices. But the EPA is under pressure to do nothing about it from pesticide companies and the pesticide 'scientists' those companies bankroll.
The EPA has already acknowledged it should look into the causes of "Colony Collapse Disorder". We need to counter the pesticide lobby's pressure and hold the EPA to that commitment, by sending them a message they can't ignore:
Everyone stands to lose with the threat to our food chain known as CCD. That's why everyone needs to stand together to counter the pressure the EPA is under not to do its job: protect the things we rely on to survive.
Many Slow Food chapters are also hosting screenings of a new CCD documentary, Vanishing of the Bees. It's a great way to get together in your community and learn more about what you can do to help solve this problem.
Time and again Slow Food members get together to celebrate the importance of food. It's now the time to take action to protect that which binds us together, and stand up for the bees that make it all possible.
Thanks for spreading the buzz,
The Slow Food USA team
PS - Can you help spread the buzz? For every 100 signatures we collect on our petition to protect the bees we depend on for our foodwe'll send a bee-shaped postcard to the Director of the EPA’s Pesticide Programs. Imagine those on the wall the next time the pesticide lobby pops in!

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