A Good Summer Buzz
Summer in Vancouver draws millions of tourists every year. If you live here and you’ve decided to stay put and enjoy what others travel far and wide to see, a visit to the oceanfront third-floor terrace of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel offers an inspiring local experience. You will find a sprawling garden with herbs, vegetables, fruits, edible blossoms and an apiary that is home to 500,000 honeybees living in six hives. The honeybees produce between 600 and 800 pounds of honey per year, and will visit up to one million flowers over 67 square kilometres to yield each pound. The fruits of their labours are used in chocolates, pastries, salad dressings, and cocktails at the hotel’s ARC restaurant, as well as a honey lager made in partnership with the Whistler Brewing Company.
About 90 percent of the world’s wild plants depend on pollinators, including one-third of the food we eat. Bees play a crucial role in pollinating the plants we harvest in agriculture and their importance in our ecosystem can’t be overstated. Bees need a variety of plants to be healthy; monocultures weaken their immune systems because they do not provide the variety of amino acids that they need. The recent die-off of bee colonies across Europe and North America, referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has been triggered largely by pesticides, but also through changes in climate and loss of territory due to human development.
Fortunately, concerned individuals all over the world are raising awareness and developing creative solutions. Urban beekeeping projects have sprung up in many metropolitan cities like London, Paris, and Hong Kong, and like the Tokyo Ginza Honey Bee Project, they often use building rooftops to house urban beehives. However, one of the simplest and most impactful ways to help bees is to plant gardens—specifically bee-friendly plants like echinacea, lavender, and clover. If you have a garden, please consider being part of the solution.