At iLOLA, we make decisions to mindfully lessen our impact on the Earth. We love the planet we live on, we are thankful for everything it gives us, and we want to take care of it to the best of our ability.
In honour of Earth Day and our collaboration with Hives for Humanity, a Vancouver based non-profit foundation that supports at-risk people and pollinators, we’re sharing 10 ways that you can help support precious pollinators like bees and contribute to a more sustainable food system. Afterall, bees play a significant role in agriculture as pollinators of crops. They contribute an estimated $538 million to the British Columbia economy and over $3.2 billion across Canada. Globally, the amount of food pollinated by bees is valued at a staggering $577 billion.
From growing the right plants to avoiding pesticides, these simple tips will allow you to give our bee friends a helping hand.
1. Plant a bee-friendly garden.Creating a welcoming space for bees that’s full of flowers will give these hard-working insects a mini sanctuary in your backyard. When in doubt, go with flowers that are native to where you live. Hot tip for you herb lovers: pollinators especially enjoy herbs like lavender, thyme, sage, rosemary and mint!
2. Leave a small dish of water in your garden.Bees get thirsty too. Placing a small dish of water outside can be a huge help for any traveling bees passing through your yard. Be sure to put some twigs or rocks in the dish so the bees can get a drink easily and safely.
3. Avoid pesticides in your garden (and on your plate if you can).Large-scale use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoid pesticides that are very toxic to bees is a big reason why bee populations are struggling right now. The more we can keep them out of our food supply, the more we can ensure that growing food doesn’t end up harming the bees that we rely on to pollinate so many of our crops.
4. Buy local and raw honey.Right now, iLOLA has launched the Oh Honey Community Collection supporting Hives for Humanity. We’ve thoughtfully selected four of our favourite teas to pair with community harvested cherry blossom honey. Not only is this honey delightfully flavoured with seasonal cherry blossom, but a portion of your dollars go toward helping support the hard-working beekeepers that nourish bee populations near you, and best of all, you get to pair it with tea!
5. Plant and protect trees.Trees not only provide bees with more flowers to pollinate, but they also give them much-needed shelter and safety. By making sure your area has enough trees, you can make sure that bees have the food and shelter that they need.
6. Get involved with the butterflyway project.This citizen-led movement by the David Suzuki Foundation works toward growing highways and laneways of habitat for wild pollinators such as butterflies and bees. They are currently calling on Vancouverites to join the action.
7. Become a beekeeper.Sure, it requires investing in some equipment, but if you’re willing to do that and risk a sting or two, you’ll enjoy the best honey of your life and the sweet taste of personally helping our pollinators thrive.
8. Sponsor a hive.If keeping your own bees isn’t doable where you live, you can always support other beekeepers by sponsoring a hive. Connect with Hives for Humanity about how you can sponsor a hive within their organization.
9. Return the cycle of growth back into the Earth.Did you know a used iLOLA tea disc will act as a natural fertilizer in your garden? We encourage these kinds of practices to help with plant growth.
10. Don't waste food.
It sounds obvious, but one of the best ways to respect our bees is to eat every fruit, veggie, and nut they worked so hard to pollinate.
Let’s do our part in minimizing the threats facing pollinators that help our ecosystem thrive. Introducing these small changes to our daily life will contribute to big change. From iLOLA to you, Happy Earth Day!