We’ve been busy over the last couple of months with some local markets and some country shows, ending with the Manifold valley Agricultural show last week. This is just outside the gorgeous village of Ilam in Derbyshire and is just the most stunning spot to spend a day.
This weekend we’ll be at the Ashbourne show on the polo ground at Osmaston. This really is my local show as its held in the next village to me. 2018 will be the 127th Ashbourne Show, it’s a traditional agricultural show with sheep, cattle, goats & horses. There are handicraft and horticultural competitions, plus trade, craft and food stands. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbours, covet the horses and dogs and do a bit of pre Christmas shopping (yes the C word!).
Anyway, this week we’ve been posting about bees because Saturday is world honey bee day. For many of us, honeybees are annoying, buzzing around and randomly stinging people although we love honey. The truth is though, that honeybees are crucial elements of our environment, and almost never get the credit that they deserve. Bees are being threatened by a loss of habitat, as well as changing temperatures and more intensive farming methods and the scary fact is that if bees didn’t exist, humans wouldn’t either!
Out of the 100 crop species that provide us with 90% of our food, 70% are pollinated by bees. It’s that simple. Some plants are pollinated by wind, but that rate is very slow, insects are the primary pollinators on the planet and bees are the most efficient insects for this purpose. Without bees, we wouldn’t have apples, cherries, and many other fruits and vegetables. Many cattle used for milk and meat are fed on crops such as alfalfa which depends on insect pollination. If the cow’s food supply declines, then meat and milk production will decrease.
The long term could see grasslands becoming barren with large-scale desertification. But it wouldn’t just be our diet and landscape that could be impacted by the disappearance of bees, even our clothing choices could be impacted as lack of pollinators could lead to a setback in cotton production.
For such a small animal bees sure do punch above their weight in terms of the impact they have so its vital that we look after their habitats and try to return as much as we can. Planting nectar rich flowers and leaving a few areas of your garden ‘wild’ are small things that we can do to make a difference.
Until next time,
Helen & Sue