Our local farmers: the pink in their cheeks, the dirt under their nails and not to mention the amazing products they grow by hand, all create contagious inspiration.
As I’ve started learning about honey bees, their anatomy, their amazing talents and even their short yet important lives, I’ve noticed my interest expanding to all things farming. Many local beekeepers that I’ve met along the way spend as much of their time with their bees as they do with their hands in the earth bringing beautiful flowers and produce to live.
The loving connection between the bees, the flora and the human who tends to them is an awe-striking demonstration of nurturing nature.
The reciprocating care is something each human should get a chance to experience at least once in their lives. However, at this point my beekeeping adventure is just starting out and adding farming on top of that is not in the cards - yet.
So, if I’m not ready to go out and make all my food from scratch, how can I help?
I decided to go to my local farmers’ market. If I can’t produce for myself quite yet, I can definitely start supporting the ones who already are! For me, that was Island Roots Co-op. In the middle of the winter, on a Wednesday night, I found exactly what I was looking for - a place to buy delicious, fresh produce while supporting local farmers.
After shopping at the market, my inspiration grew. Can I, as an everyday person, make an impact towards helping bees and those keeping them?
Does it really make a difference if I shop locally and buy my produce from local farmers?
Common sense tells me that it does. Putting money directly back into our local economy rather than in the hands of big box stores seems like a no-brainer. My plan is to stick with the habit of buying local when possible for a few reasons.
First of all, the food just tastes better - it’s hard to put into words exactly how those local carrots taste - juicy, sweet and delicious doesn’t even do them justice.
The second reason is from an economic standpoint. I do not know about economics in detail, but enriching our communities and supporting local businesses has always been a theme that I have agreed with and buying produce from local farmers feels right on par.
My last reason would be to get to know the farmers in my community, also in hopes of proving my “common sense” brain correct. Do the farmers in my community use “bee friendly” farming methods? Are they staying away from neonicotinoids that would poison a poor bee who tries to enjoy the nectar of their flowering plants? Do they understand bees’ nesting habits, especially those bees native to our area?