Yesterday I read an article in the Melbourne Age that gave me optimism about the future survival of the honeybee. Jaqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environmental Agency says that our cities have the potential to become a major supplier of honey. “City honey is cleaner than country honey because there are fewer pesticides”, she said. This really makes sense to me because crops on farms in the countryside are essentially monocultures and therefore, the variety of pollens available to the bees is limited, and the chemicals sprayed on the crops can contaminate the honey.
More and more people in Europe are keeping bees in their backyards and on their roofs and this trend is also occurring in Melbourne. As I have previously stated, the conditions for pollen and nectar are conducive to success in producing a healthy food source close to home in the city.
A gathering of chefs and scientists recently in Copenhagen tried to solve the world’s food problems in a weekend. The basic conclusion that they came to is that food needs to be sourced close to home and that that there are many food sources that are not being used because people, in general, prefer convenience over actively seeking out food.
The trend towards utilizing the massive resources available to the honeybee in our cities is a great portent for our future.