BERKELEY, Calif. — Pollinators play a vital role in producing one-third of the world’s food crops, but they are disappearing at alarming rates. Whole Foods Market and The Xerces Society are joining forces to “share the buzz” about the plight of pollinators and empower shoppers to “bee” part of the solution.
To kick off the two-week campaign, Whole Foods Market’s Gilman store in Berkeley, California, demonstrated what shoppers’ salad bar choices would look like if pollinators vanished. The before-and-after photos (above) are startling – as are the findings:
Avocados, tomatoes and berries are just a few of the favorite offerings that would become scarce or disappear from the salad bar without the help of pollinators, which play an integral role in more than 100 types of crops in the U.S.
Only about 40 percent (26 of 63) of the store’s original salad bar offerings remained. In addition to produce options, shoppers would have to give up salad toppers like almonds, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds, too.
Beef and dairy options would be scarce. Pollinators are vital to crops that feed cattle, which means no more yogurt, cheeses or other dairy options on the salad bar.
Whole Foods Market will be hosting a “Party for the Pollinators” event in stores nationwide on Saturday, April 18, with fun, family-focused activities that highlight ways shoppers can help protect pollinators, like planting organic wildflowers, choosing “Responsibly Grown” produce or buying organic.
“With nearly one-fourth of America’s bumble bee species now at risk for extinction, it’s time to get serious about saving our pollinators,” said Eric Mader, pollinator program co-director for The Xerces Society. “But it’s not too late. With the support from Whole Foods Market and its shoppers, our organization is working to turn this situation around. We’re creating and improving thousands of acres of pollinator habitat in the U.S., reducing the use of agricultural pesticides and training people in pollinator conservation techniques that can save these unsung heroes of our food chain.”
In addition to attending in-store events, shoppers can purchase pollinator-friendly products that support The Xerces Society’s goal of planting 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat within the next 12 to 18 months. Featured products include:
High Mowing Organic Sunflower Seeds – $1 per packet sold (from April 15 to 28)
Cascadian Farm Organic Buzz Crunch Almond Honey Cereal and Organic Buzz Crunch Honey Apple Granola – $1 per item purchased on April 18
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze shelf-stable almond milk (on April 18)
Whole Foods Market’s new, limited edition 365 Everyday Value® Pollinator-Friendly Almond Butters (April 15 to 28)
Whole Foods Market launched its pollinator-friendly almond butters to directly support a pilot program developed by The Xerces Society and Nevada Ranch in Le Grange, Calif., which is working to integrate native wildflower habitat and improved pesticide protection into large-scale production of almonds.
“Whole Foods Market sells a lot of almonds, but most people don’t realize that almond trees can’t produce nuts without pollinators, or that there aren’t enough bees to sustain the demand on their own,” said Errol Schweizer, global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “When we heard about the important research and work happening at Nevada Ranch, we put our money where our mouth is and bought last year’s entire harvest for this special batch of pollinator-friendly almonds and almond butters.”
To further showcase the vital link between pollinators and food, Whole Foods Market created a series of short cooking videos illustrating how classic recipes like apple pie, marinara sauce and guacamole would turn out without pollinators. The grocer also created a series of short animated videos (narrated by Jaden Smith) spotlighting how lesser-known pollinators like moths, butterflies, fireflies and hummingbirds play their part. Find these videos, kid-friendly, educational activities and more information on how to help pollinators at wfm.com/pollinators.