Beekeepers in the Fraser Valley and the Thompson Nicola region are working to save bees and pollinators with support from the B.C. government.
“We wouldn't have an agricultural industry without bees. We need them. It's critical. And bees are facing challenges around the globe,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “It’s awesome to see BeeBC funding help with those challenges and support communities as they find solutions to support bees.”
Responding to the need to support bees in the province, communities are using BeeBC funding to help generate educational initiatives and plant beneficial plants to help pollinators thrive.
In Langley, Carolyn Essaunce of the Honest to Goodness Farm Co. is working to restore an acre of land on MacInnes Farms and convert it into a pollinator conservation area. The site will include space for a nesting ground and beneficial flora focusing on bloom times that are sparce. The site will encourage education through a marked path that will include benches and informative plaques encouraging visitors to create spaces for pollinators on their own land as well. The work of converting the farm will be volunteer led with support from the Langley Environmental Partners Society.
“Initiatives like BeeBC are perfect for encouraging people to step outside their comfort zones and do something positive for pollinators,” noted Essaunce. “A pollinator conservation area creates a space where all the beneficial insects have a safe space to nest and exist, everybody wins!”
In Clearwater, a town in the Thompson Nicola region, Yellowhead Community Services is working to increase nectar and pollen sources by planting pollen-rich plants in community and municipal park spaces, school gardens and community gardens. In an effort to increase winter survival rates of local hives, Yellowhead is also using the funding to secure a bee health consultant to visit the community for an educational opportunity on hive health and overwintering colonies.
"We are so excited to be working with our community to promote healthy honeybee and pollinator populations and for the opportunity to expand the knowledge base of beekeepers in our valley,” said Joanna Hurst, Yellowhead Community Services. “The health of all pollinators is so important to our food supply!”
Both projects incorporate an educational component to strengthen community knowledge about pollinator conservation while working to provide additional resources for pollinators foraging for food. These projects are two of 10 that have received support from the Province’s BeeBC program during the second intake of applications. To date, 23 projects throughout the province have been funded by the program.
The BeeBC program provides funding to smaller-scale community-based projects that support the health of B.C.’s bees. The fund provides support to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health. The BeeBC program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.
- In late 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture provided $25,000 in funding to support research work on bee health and pollination.
- In May 2018, BeeBC received $100,000 in funding to support community-based projects on bee health to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health.
- In October 2018, Popham announced an additional $50,000 in funding through BeeBC to help support even more community-based projects in B.C.
- Honeybees are an important part of B.C.’s agriculture sector as pollinators of crops, contributing an estimated $538 million to the provincial economy.
- Across Canada, honeybees have an economic contribution estimated at over $3.2 billion.
- The BC Honey Producers’ Association represents the province’s commercial, sideliner and hobbyist beekeepers and is one of Canada’s oldest agricultural associations.
For more information on BeeBC, visit: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/bee-bc/
Learn more about BeeBC program projects funded under the first intake of the program: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18326
Find out more about ethical bee projects funded by BeeBC: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18150
For more information on the Honest to Goodness Farm Co., visit: https://www.honestfarming.ca/
For information about the Ministry of Agriculture’s apiary program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees
For more information on Yellowhead Community Services, visit: https://www.yellowheadcs.ca/
A backgrounder follows.