It’s no secret that a widespread decline of the world’s bee populations is underway and that it poses a very real threat to our food security. This decline has been linked to pesticide use, changes in land use, and loss of biodiversity. Close to home, the local loss of natural vegetation, due to urban development coupled with agricultural land use, can effect farm biodiversity, including bee populations.
In response, the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at UBC Farm is collaborating with Shifting Growth on a project to enhance the Farm’s bee habitat and increase biodiversity. Shifting Growth is a Vancouver-based organization that transforms vacant, under-utilized spaces into temporary community gardens and growing spaces.
“CSFS is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems,” said Veronik Campbell, Academic Programs Manager. “This project fits perfectly with our research mission at CSFS because it presents us with the opportunity to ask how we produce healthy food and develop thriving, engaged communities while still ensuring responsible stewardship of our environment within the context of competing land uses.”
To start the project, hedgerows, comprised of native pollinator habitats, will be planted among UBC Farm’s cultivated fields. The hedgerows are designed to provide bee forage, which will boost the resiliency of the resident bee populations. In addition to forage, these hedgerows will serve as an important research platform.
“CSFS seeks to be a university and community research space that allows people from different disciplines to work together on complex problems. The complexity of the bee decline is a perfect example of how we need multiple perspectives and expertise to find sustainable solutions for these types of problems.” said Andrew Riseman, Academic Director.