By Lexi Hinson
Did you know bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as crops like alfalfa hay that feed the farm animals that humans rely on? In the last 10 years though, crop production has increased while bee populations have plummeted due to the elimination of cover crops, large-scale monoculture practices, an increase in pesticides that are toxic to bees, and Colony Collapse Disorder. With a growing human population it is vital that we give these buzzing members of our ecosystem a safe habitat to live and flourish, which is exactly what the Bailey Urban Farm and GREENroof will provide!
We are delighted to have received a $5,000 grant from Campus Sustainability to begin urban beekeeping on the Bailey GREENroof! We are working with an experienced beekeeper to install two small hives this summer that will grow and produce honey for us to sell next summer. Through this project, RISE students will have opportunities to become involved and gain knowledge in urban apiculture practices, build entrepreneurial skills, and have hands on experience managing bee colonies for honey production. Together, we will educate peers and Michigan residents on the importance of bees to sustain our food system and ecological health. Students will also learn how bees impact the food system in terms of both pollination and honey, and how our bees will add to our Bailey Urban Farm and the rest of campus!
Lexi Hinson is a junior at Michigan State University majoring in Psychology.