On Friday, a Whole Foods Market in University Heights, Rhode Island found an effective way to illustrate the pivotal role that bees play in our food system by removing all produce items that are dependent on bees and other pollinators, according to the company's website.
The store's produce team pulled 237 of 453 products — 52 percent of the department's normal product mix, including:
- Summer squash
- Green onions
- Bok choy
- Broccoli rabe
- Mustard greens
In conjunction with the demonstration, Whole Foods Market announced a partnership with The Xerces Society to help support honeybee populations. For every pound of organic summer squash sold at Whole Foods Market stores from June 12-25, the company will donate 10 cents to The Xerces Society for pollinator preservation.
“We don’t always notice it when walking down a grocery aisle, but pollinators are a critical link in our food system. More than 85% of the plant species on earth require bees and other pollinators to exist, and these plants include some of the most nutritious parts of our diet. Despite their importance, we continue to see alarming declines in bee numbers,” said Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Conservation Director at The Xerces Society. “On a positive note however, with the support of Whole Foods Market and their vendors, our organization is working with farmers nationwide to help them create wildflower habitat on field edges and to adopt less pesticide-intensive practices. Even on a small scale, these simple strategies can tip the balance back in favor of our bees.”
Whole Foods has recently announced a number of initiatives aimed at preserving the integrity of our food system, including refusing to sell genetically engineered seafood and aiming for full transparency around any products containing genetically modified ingredients by 2018.