Are you buzzing about Bees?
Here at Earthy we are big fans of the humble bumblebee. Following on from our 2014 campaign Bee Responsible we will continue to support the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Bees don’t just make honey, they pollinate a third of the food that we eat. Unfortunately, honeybee numbers have fallen by 30% in recent years, which is why we are getting involved and raising awareness. If bumblebees continue to decline then we face ecological turmoil.
Bees are under threat like never before. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids – a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the mid 1990s at exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring – are involved in their rapid decline. Another major factor is intensive agriculture – the widespread use of pesticide and herbicide contribute to a loss of habitat and food for bees. Organic farming, by contrast, encourages higher levels of wildlife – including bees – on Organic farms.
In the UK there are 24 species of bumblebee but only eight are commonly found in most places. Bumblebees are found in a variety of habitats and most people should be able to attract them to their gardens if they have the right kinds of flowering plants.
We will be raising awareness in all of our stores about the types of fresh produce that will simply disappear if we do not save our bees. We are also raising money for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust with the national 5p charge on all of our biodegradable carrier bags which will go directly to this vital conservation work.
There are so many ways to get involved. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a great place to start. Here they list ways to get going: http://bumblebeeconservation.org/get-involved
We are hoping to raise awareness and help as much as possible with this very worthy campaign, so please join us in getting #beeresponsible trending and tell everyone about these fabulous little creatures.
Patricia's Blog - Bee Responsible
This blog post was written by one of Earthy's founders for GoodbyeSupermarket website back in June 2014.
We have updated it a little but thought we would share it with you.
Just the other day, I was chatting to our local Soil Association rep, when she gave me a ‘Keep Britain Buzzing’ badge which I proudly pinned on. A surprising (to me) number of people came up and start bee-related conversations, so it’s obvious that the plight of declining bee populations here and worldwide is of widespread concern.
How can you help? Well the first tip is obvious: pay a fair price for the honey from local beekeepers. It’s not cheap but it is delicious, nutritious and a truly local Superfood.
You won’t find it in the supermarkets because there’s not enough volume – so it’s a great reason to visit your local Farmers Market, wholefood or farm shop.
Here at Earthy we have a large section devoted to honey from, East Lothian (Hoods Honey from Stuart Hood), Chainbridge Honey Farm in Berwickshire (WS Robsons’s), Hilltop Honey from Wales and Fairtrade/Organic honey from further away.
Please do check out their stories at:
It is worth noticing that several of the larger apiaries, pack honey from elsewhere. If that’s what you pick up accidentally don’t be too disappointed: it all helps their viability, particularly in years like recent ones when the bees are decimated and they have no honey of their own.
If you want to buy online, then I recommend Robson’s Chainbridge Honey Farm on the Scottish Borders – clear website, lovely visitor experience, and a fantastic range of products from lipbalm to candles to shoe polish if you are not a honey eater.
Argument still rages as to why bees are mysteriously dying but all commentators agree on one thing: bees need BIODIVERSITY. Specifically, flower types and flowering times that are as diverse as nature itself, and do not exist in monoculture, such as the heavily-sprayed almond blossom in California which has wreaked such havoc.
So buy the products created from biodiversity – from small-scale and Organic farming where biodiversity is both normal and enthusiastically encouraged. Organic farms, such as my own small one, have up to 50% more plant, insect and bird life (lots of worms and aphids!) and 30% more species.
To get away from monoculture you need to avoid the big brands. (Mr Kellogg doesn’t go round to the next-door farm to get his corn) It’s far easier to do that outside of the supermarket, where big brands compete for space and elbow everything else out of the way.
If you just have a window box and no garden you can still sow a Beemat… a little strip of pre-seeded matting that will produce bee-friendly flowers and give you pleasure too. If you want to get a little more involved may I suggest a look at Luisa Gonzales site and campaign to cultivate new beekeepers and school bee-education.
I’m just noticing that most of my references in this post are Scottish which is not surprisingly really. I thought I’d finish with a recipe for a distinctly Scottish, and very pleasurable dessert Cranachan. This is done Earthy-style with slightly healthier crowdie and not so much cream.
Also in January, when of course raspberries are not available, we recommend you use the raspberry-tangy-sweetness of blood oranges in their place. This is a bit of a moveable feast and you can be more luxurious (more fruit and honey) or more austere, (more oats and no cream) as you wish. It’s a sort of Scottish trifle.
Earthy Cranachan – to serve 6
It's traditional to serve it in layers in individual glasses; so blood oranges on the bottom, then crowdie mixture, then more orange, then a topping of oats and a heated last tbsp of honey to drizzle on top.