Thanks to a Vancity Community Project Grant, our Bees and Seeds project is off to a strong start. Starting our own apiary, even a small one, would have been prohibitively expensive for The Sharing Farm. Funds from this grant will be used to purchase equipment and supplies in order to create and support bee keeping and seed saving projects at The Sharing Farm.
We’re getting honey bees!
Even though we regularly manage the soil and water for our crops, we have not had any control over pollination. With this grant, we’ll be able to buy hives for the first time and plant sustainable forage crops for the bees. The Bees & Seeds program will help to strengthen the work that we do by providing a stable pollination base as well as more control over the seeds that are planted year after year. By saving the seeds of our crops, we will be able to select for more locally adapted vegetable varieties, and use our own seeds for next year’s crops.
Bee Decline and Our Mandate
Seventy percent of all our crops rely on pollination.
The population of bees in North America has declined substantially in the last two decades. With the increasing incidences of Colony Collapse Disorder and varroa mite infection, coupled with the collapse of the honey industry due to cheap imports, the impetus is now on small scale, sustainable production of hives in order to bring honey bee populations back.
We need bees to pollinate our crops. Pollinators are as important as the sun, soil, and rain, for a bountiful harvest. Our bees will be a part of meeting our mandate to provide nutritious produce to the programs that feed our Richmond neighbours in need.
Bees can’t live on vegetables alone
The Sharing Farm will be a trial ground for new forage crops to see how suitable they are for year round production, especially when pollen and nectar sources are traditionally unavailable. We are going to save the seeds from the successful forage crops to plant in future years.
Look for bee and seed saving workshops next year.
We understand the deeper meaning behind Vancity’s slogan of “make good money”. They are a tremendous community credit union.