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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Bee products: providing nutrition and generating income - Honeybees, beekeeping and bee products in our daily lives

Michele Baron
Michele BaronKyrgyzstan

I would also like to pose a question for the forum on the resilience of bees, other pollinators, and beneficial insects--

while seed banks are useful, if our honey-producing bees, pollinators and beneficial insects are evolving along with the diverse and dynamic plant life and landrace seed crops adapting to survive outside the stasis of seed storage centers, what tests or verifications are being conducted to ensure that pollinators and beneficials will recognize, and possess digestive systems and processing enzymes necessary to make honey from these "seed bank" plants if they are returned to the biosphere after some decades of separation? Will a plant-generation or two of overcross with landrace crops be necessary for compatibility with then-current insect species?

Meanwhile, for health in the present, since some studies suggest as much as 75 percent of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by small farmholders (many of them women) in peri-urban and remote rural locations, costs and deleterious effects of toxic chemicals used to control crop infestations may be avoided by bordering arable lands with early-season and late-season blooming plants, clumping grasses, and pollinator-friendly herb and medicinal plants can provide pollen (protein/food), nectar (carbohydrate/energy) and shelter not only for bees, but for lady bugs, lacewings, beneficial wasps, and other insects which are natural predators to insects which eat (or lay eggs/form larvae which eat) farm crops. Pairing tansy, marigold, basil, mountain mint, hyssop, borage, or other widely available varietals with garden crops can provide ample sustenance for bees and beneficials, enable predictable honey production (i.e., specific plant/source flavors, or safe gathering zones with ample water and plentiful pollinating plants throughout the growing season), and help make garden-food-production more secure, especially for small-holder farmers.

Additionally, farmers can gather and dry or process herbs, aromatics and floral border plants for use and sale at the end of the growing season.