Here's a pretty video on diversifying crops--varying hedgerows of flowers with different vegetables--in order to keep bees alive and healthy. UC Berkeley's Claire Kremen makes her point well when she asks, "You wouldn't want to have to eat almonds all day, would you?" She's referring to the fact that 80% of the world's almonds are grown in California, and bees are trucked the length of the state in order to pollinate crops. So many of them die along the way--increasingly more.
Instead, at Full Belly Farm in Guinda, depicted in this very pretty video, they choose to carefully plant hedgerows of beautiful, varied flowers that the native (non-imported) Californian bees can sip on for a varied diet, thus keeping them healthy and content.
I haven't seen this many bees up close in a while, and I found their little golden bodies truly entrancing and endearing as they slowly sip the painted flowers. I liked seeing Mark Bittman, New York Times food critic, who's usually opinionated to the point of abrasive, dumbstruck by his fellow buzzing creatures.
I have to admit that I also didn't know the definition of a pollinator, which Kremen gives: it's any animal--moth, bird--that transports pollen between the male and female parts of the flower. This sounds like such an important job! A golden monk's duty. Thank you, bees. Dare I say that the bees at Full Belly Farm look very happy? Yes, I can tell a bee's expression--can't you?
Watch the bees at Full Belly Farm video here