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Tag Archives | crops

ARTICLE: San Diego deregulates urban agriculture

San Diego has joined the urban agriculture movement…

The changes bring San Diego in line with more progressive Northern California cities and toward the forefront of the urban agriculture movement sweeping the nation, backers of the revisions say.

“There were a lot of pretty prohibitive rules in the city of San Diego,” said Judy Jacoby, founder of the nonprofit San Diego Community Garden Network. “This is a big step forward.”

The changes came on a unanimous vote that Councilwoman Lorie Zapf called regulatory relief and Councilman Todd Gloria called common sense.

“It’s going to add to the quality of life in our city,” Gloria said after the Jan. 31 council session.

“As we become denser and more vertical in our communities, were going to need more opportunities to expand urban agriculture and grow our own food where we can,” Zapf said…

“We’re trying to bring San Diego into line with a lot of other cities,” Eric Robinson, of the 450-strong San Diego Beekeeping Society , told the City Council. “Humans have been beekeeping for 5,000 years. This is nothing new.”

…“It’s all part of the healthy food movement and also part of the food justice movement,” she said. “It’s the convergence of a lot of events, but there is an effort to make sure that more people have access to healthy, fresh food.”

[click here to read the full article on healthycal.org]

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URBAN BEEKEEPING -

“Urban beekeeping has been all the buzz, lately.  And for as many people that keep bees, there are that many reasons WHY people keep bees.

One of the most important reasons to keep bees is for pollination.  Bee pollination is needed for the production of an estimated one-third of the food crops grown in developed countries. When it comes to fruit, the number of bees visiting a plant affects the size, uniformity and amount of fruit it produces. Bee pollination also has an impact on other foods we eat, such as meat, since the animals we consume often eat plants pollinated by bees.

It’s common knowledge that the honey bee produces honey, but did you know that they also provide us with wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and venom? These by-products have different uses but are all considered beneficial to our health. “Apitherapy” means the use of honeybee products for medicinal purposes.

Urban beekeeping is essential as the commercial beekeepers have sustained huge losses all over the country year after year. As urban beekeepers we can practices sans medications and chemicals. We can provide diversity-rich habits as well as encourage those around us to reduce and or eliminate the use of pesticides. Beekeeping is a very civic hobby!  But beyond that, it’s a lot of fun, challenging and rewarding.”

[click here to view the original post on botanicgardensblog.com]

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Almond joy! – Victory for bees -

With little fanfare, pesticide manufacturer Bayer has asked California regulators to limit the use of one of their most profitable products, imidacloprid...

Imidacloprid belongs to a class of systemic, neurotoxic pesticides known to be particularly toxic to honey bees: neonicotinoids. As systemics, they permeate the plant from the roots up and are expressed in pollen, nectar and guttation droplets (like pesticide dew).

Bad for bees, bad for almonds

New research suggests that even in very small doses, neonicotinoids create big problems for bees. Imidacloprid likely weakens their immune systems and, in combination with other threats like parasites, contributes to the alarming decline in bee populations termed “Colony Collapse Disorder.”

…through a recent public records request, PAN obtained evidence of Bayer’s request to remove the product in 2010. The EPA has little experience with voluntary withdrawl of a pesticide, so the agency has been slow to fulfill Bayer’s request. But it’s likely that a victory for bees — along with almond growers and beekeepers — is imminent.

[click here to read the full article on panna.org]

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ARTICLE: Honeybees as plant ‘bodyguards’ -

“Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination, according to a new study published in the December 23rd issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The insects’ buzz also defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.

The researchers, led by Jürgen Tautz of Biozentrum Universität Würzburg, Germany, earlier found that many caterpillars possess fine sensory hairs on the front portions of their bodies that enable them to detect air vibrations, such as the sound of an approaching predatory wasp or honeybee.

“These sensory hairs are not fine-tuned,” Tautz said. “Therefore, caterpillars cannot distinguish between hunting wasps and harmless bees.” If an “unidentified flying object” approaches, generating air vibrations in the proper range, caterpillars stop moving or drop from the plant…

“Our findings indicate for the first time that visiting honeybees provide plants with a totally unexpected advantage,” the researchers said. “They not only transport pollen from flower to flower, but in addition also reduce plant destruction by herbivores.”

…If crops are combined with attractive flowers in such a way that honeybees from nearby beehives constantly buzz around them, it may lead to significantly higher yields in areas with lots of leaf-eating pests—a notion Tautz’s team intends to test. “Our finding may be the start of a totally new biological control method,” he said.”

[click here to read the full post on physorg.com]

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Honeybees, the new urban dwellers

“Honeybees play a vital role in many areas of our lives – they pollinate our crops and medicinal plants – but their population has decreased by 30% since 2008. Could our towns and cities now provide them with a safe haven?


Major cities around the world such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Paris are encouraging bees to set up home in the city. Rooftops, small urban gardens and even balconies are providing potential safe-havens for honeybees, our newest and, in many ways, most-important urban dwellers.

The future of mankind is dependent on the survival of the bee.

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80% of our food crops worldwide, therefore risks to their health threaten our own food security. Many medicines, an enormous part of our textile industry and, of course, perfumes and cosmetics also rely on flowers and plants that are pollinated by bees.

In short we have the honeybee to thank for the basic components of our daily lives, from the food we eat and the drugs we need, to the clothes we wear – and that’s without beginning to consider items of luxury.

However, the honeybee population has decreased by 30% since 2008 and the reasons for their poor health are multifaceted. Today the rural environment poses severe health risks to bees through intensive farming methods and the use of pesticides.

“Mono crop” farming means that many bees now have a “mono pollen diet”. This could be detrimental to their health as pollen provides bees with protein; as each pollen variety contains different nutrients that are needed to maintain good health, missing out on certain nutrients leaves bees vulnerable to diseases.

Bees that miss out on a balanced diet can also become more susceptible to parasites, such as the varroa mite, or colony collapse disorder, which is believed to be caused by a combination of fungal and viral infections.

Such threats mean the honeybee could potentially have a better chance of survival in urban environments.

City living potentially provides a rich and varied source of pollen that gives bees all the nutrients and enzymes they require for their good health.

Bees that live in the city may also benefit from new kinds of beehive designs that have been created specifically for urban bees.

This growth in the urban honeybee population, and the need for it to be encouraged, calls for not only new type of homes which are suitable for beekeeping, but also a complete re-examination of our relationship with honeybees where they live beside us and we welcome their presence.”

[click here to read the original article on guardian.co.uk]

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Apiculture Museum in Radjovek, Slovenia

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List of crop plants pollinated by bees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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“If the bees disappeared, then man would only have four years left to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more man.”

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“Colony collapse disorder is the subject of this environmental documentary. As bee colonies around the United States disappear, scientists and beekeepers struggle to find the reason why and ascertain the impact on humans and the planet. Longtime beekeepers and newcomers alike are faced with economic ruin as they try to keep their hives healthy and prevent this crisis from wreaking havoc on a world that depends on pollination to sustain agriculture.”

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Breakfast without Bees?

“Without honeybees, many foods included in the breakfast [on top] would become too rare for most people to afford. Shortages would affect an array of fruits, as well as jams and jellies, almonds and even milk, because dairies use alfalfa (which needs pollinators) as a protein-rich feed for dairy cows.” – ScientificAmerican.com

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