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    Whole Foods Joins Honey Bee Buzz

    Grocer moves to help protect species

    In the face of precipitous declines in honey bee populations, with biodiversity and the future of the agriculture system and gardens at stake, Whole Foods Market is getting shoppers interested in what they can do to help.

    “Bees pollinate a third of our diet, yet they’re literally vanishing from their hives,” explained Cheryl Galway, marketing director for Whole Foods’ South region. “Many people have no idea that honey bees play an essential role in our agricultural system. By raising awareness of the issue, we hope to motivate people to take action and share many ways they can be a part of the solution.”

    During June and July, the Austin, Texas-based food retailer is encouraging shoppers to access stories, videos and more ways to support honey bees online; go to in-store screenings of “Vanishing of the Bees” or “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?” (the latter of which will also be featured this month at the grocer's Do Something Reel Film Festival; Tweet-to-give and pin-to-give to help support The Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats; and “Adopt a bee” at Whole Foods’ Facebook page while learning more fun facts.

    Additionally, for every organic cantaloupe sold at Whole Foods Market stores through June 26, 25 cents will go to Xerces. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a 1:1 match for all donations made to organization. Suppliers donating funds to support the cause are Annie’s, The Hain-Celestial Group Inc., Alba Botanica, Almond Breeze, Amy’s Kitchen, Arrowhead Mills, Attune Foods, Avalon Organics, Blue Diamond, Earth’s Best, Evian Natural Spring Water, GoGo squeeze, Honest Tea, Honeydrop Beverages, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, O.N.E. Coconut Water, Pacific Natural Foods, Popcorn Indiana, PROBAR, Sambazon, Small Planet Foods, Nancy’s Yogurt, Stonyfield, Terra, Three Twins Ice Cream, WestSoy, Wholesome Sweeteners and Yogi Tea.

    With supplier and shopper support, Whole Foods aims to raise $180,000 to restore pollination habitats that Xerces will support. The organizations also joined forces last month to host an educational webinar that enabled more than 100 of Whole Foods’ farmers to learn about habitat restoration solutions for their farms.

    “Pollinator conservation is critically important to protecting both global biodiversity and agriculture, but they’re increasingly at risk from factors like habitat loss and pesticide use,” noted Eric Mader, assistant pollinator conservation director at Portland, Ore.-based Xerces. “Through this partnership with Whole Foods Market, we’re expanding public awareness about the importance of pollinators and empowering farmers nationwide to help protect them.”
     

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