As we mark National Pollinator Week, chefs and restaurants are stepping up to save the bees. Working with Environment America’s Bee Friendly Food Alliance, more than 30 restaurants around the country are drawing attention to the problems facing bees. Restaurants are educating their customers and highlighting foods pollinated by bees.
“Restaurants and chefs are buzzing with activity during National Pollinator Week, raising awareness about the vital role bees play in pollinating our food and the need to protect these powerful pollinators,” said Christy Leavitt, Bee Friendly Food Alliance coordinator.
During National Pollinator Week, which runs June 19-25, restaurants and chefs are sharing educational information with customers, highlighting food and drink specials that feature ingredients pollinated by bees, holding bee friendly dinners and getting the word out through social media.
Honey bees, bumble bees and other native bees are critical to the environment and our food supply. Bees pollinate 70 percent of the 100 crops that provide most of the world’s food. Many favorite summer foods, including strawberries, watermelon and zucchini, are pollinated by bees.
“I love bees because they provide most of our food system,” said Kevin Cuddihee, Executive Chef at TWO in Chicago, IL. “Without pollination we would have virtually no fruits and vegetables. They are the unsung heroes of food!”
Millions of bees are dying across the country. Beekeepers report losing an average of 30 percent of all honey bee colonies each year. Scientists point to several causes of the bee die-off, including global warming, habitat loss, parasites and a class of bee-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids.
"Bees are utterly fascinating. It is amazing to me how a biologically simple creature can play such a critical role in our complex food system, and the role pollinators play in our entire ecosystem for that matter,” said Mike Heath, Owner of Kingdom Crust Co. in St. Johnsbury, VT. “We use the honey our bees produce in as many items on our menu as we can!”
Restaurants rely on a stable and seasonal supply of vegetables, fruits and other foods pollinated by bees. From Vermont to California, chefs and restaurants are getting involved to protect the bees this week and beyond.
“We are lucky to have our bakery located in beautiful Bucks County, PA and to have access to the foods raised in our area,” said Marcia Durgin, Owner of Crossroads Bake Shop. “We are grateful and dependent on bees for pollinating the fruit trees that produce peaches, apricots, raspberries, blueberries and apples that can be used in our pies!”
The following restaurants and chefs are participating in the Bee Friendly Food Alliance’s National Pollinator Week activities to help save the bees:
Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, San Francisco, CA
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco, CA
The Progress, San Francisco, CA
Amanda Grace Johnson - Private Chef, Los Angeles, CA
duo Restaurants, Denver CO and Brattleboro, VT
Mindful Restaurant Group, Washington, DC
Lavagna, Washington, DC
Glen's Garden Market, Washington, DC
Pleasant Pops, Washington, DC
Community Cafe, St. Petersburg, FL
The Pullman, Atlanta, GA
The Farmhouse at Persimmon Creek, Clayton, GA
TWO, Chicago, IL
Uncommon Ground, Chicago, IL
Mei Mei Restaurant, Boston, MA
Evoo, Cambridge, MA
Za, Cambridge, MA
Soul, Annapolis, MD
Hunter House Hamburgers, Ann Arbor, MI
The Dram Shop, Missoula, MT
Montgomery Distillery, Missoula, MT
The Baxter Bar and Arcade, Chapel Hill, NC
Whole Earth Center, Princeton, NJ
Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
Vinegar Hill House, Brooklyn, NY
Suzanne Scherr - Chef, Chappaqua, NY
Crossroads Bake Shop, Doyleston, PA
Golden Pheasant Inn, Erwinna, PA
Mon Amis, Kennett Square, PA
Kingdom Crust Co., St. Johnsbury, VT
Michael's on the Hill, Waterbury Center, VT
Arvads Grill, Waterbury, VT
The Reluctant Panther, Manchester, VT