On May 31st, the Slow Food Portland Convivium will hold the next event in its ongoing “Foundations of Agriculture” series. Presenters will share their knowledge about native bee populations, pollination, and integrating bees into working farms.
Despite its hard work, the bee has never garnered much attention from the general public. We all think of bees as honey suppliers and mild summertime nuisances, but until lately few people have truly considered the scope of their impact on our agricultural system. Insect pollination, including that of bees, is vital to the growth of one-third of the world’s food crop. This fact alone should long ago have earned the bee its due respect, but it wasn’t until large populations of bees began to vanish in late 2006 that the insect gained international recognition.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the little understood phenomenon causing hives of bees to die, has captured media coverage, spurred numerous action campaigns and worked its way into conversations around the globe. In 2007, both Haagen Dazs and Burt’s Bees launched campaigns to fund research into the causes behind hive collapse. A Google search returned a whopping 221,000 references to the phenomenon. Between the press and public concern, Colony Collapse Disorder became such a powerful buzzword that it earned an honorable mention nod from the Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 Word of the Year contest.
And yet, for all of the focus on Colony Collapse Disorder, scientists and beekeepers have yet to reach any consensus on the source of the problem. While this presents a substantial obstacle for researchers, the myriad possible causes of colony collapse (and our shortage of knowledge about bees in general) can seem practically insurmountable to the average citizen.Read More →