All the busy worker bees of the Capital Region Farmers Market are gearing up for a bee-witching event on Saturday (22 May) in celebration of World Bee Day, which will include displays, honey-themed food, and bee-themed fun activities and competitions for the kids.
World Bee Day is officially on Thursday (20 May), but the markets didn’t want to let the occasion fly by. Capital Region Farmers Market manager Sarah Power says it’s important that stallholders and consumers alike understand the important role bees play in the food supply.
She explained that most of the market’s stallholders depend on bees and other pollinating insects to survive.
“Together, we recognise the importance of World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping to the world,” she said.
Bees play an essential role in pollinating native plants, and Australia alone is home to over 2000 species of native bees.
The introduction of many crops also saw the need for European Honeybees to pollinate many foods that now form the basis of the Australian diet.
Global population predictions suggest that within 30 years, there will be one-third more people on the planet. Without pollination, it’s almost impossible to achieve the necessary global food security to feed a growing population.
Farmers are particularly acute to this need.
Troy Harrison, from Harrison & Sons in Araluen, says without bees, there just wouldn’t be such a variety of produce available for consumers.
“We primarily grow stone fruit like peaches and nectarines, as well as a variety of vegetables like pumpkins and potatoes.
“We rely very heavily on native and European bees for ensuring pollination,” he said.
Since the 2019/2020 bushfires, he says they’ve noticed a decline in the number of wild bees.
“We will probably have to look at bringing in some hives as we can’t take the risk of there not being the numbers needed for successful pollination and a good harvest,” he said.
Harrison & Sons will be at the World Bee Day celebrations this weekend, and they are keen to educate consumers about where their food comes from and why bees are necessary.
This week’s crop will largely consist of tomatoes, capsicums, pumpkins and potatoes as the last of the summer crops were destroyed in the recent frost (given the cold weather in Canberra, a pumpkin soup might go down a treat).
The Market has celebrated World Bee Day for a number of years in response to an initiative launched by the Slovenian Embassy. A proposal by Slovenia to nominate 20 May as World Bee Day was unanimously approved by the United Nations Member States in 2017.
Slovenia has a long history of bee-keeping, and the importance of bees is well-understood.
“We now ask that the Canberra community, and visitors alike, join us for our fun family day to learn and find out more about how we can keep our bees safe,” Sarah continued.
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The Market aims to teach all ages and demographics about the importance of bees with a display of hives, native plants and flowers. Growers, and local and regional honey producers will be on hand with information about how people can help contribute to saving our bees.
For the kids, there will be A Best Bee Costume Competition (dress in yellow and black to participate), a colouring competition and bee face painting.
World Bee Day celebrations at the Capital Region Farmers Market will be held Saturday, 22 May, from 7:00 am to 11:30 am at Exhibition Park in Canberra. See their website for more details.