We saw countless honey bees buzzing, feeding, and pollinating on our trip to visit our sunflower oil grower and supplier Colorado Mills. Can you spot the one above?
As news came out about Neonicotinoids, and their potential harm to pollinators, we knew we had to dig in. We reached out to our growers to learn more and see what we could do to help. We are now working with our suppliers to find ways to support non-Neonicotinoid growing practices and help protect local pollinators.
Honey bees pollinate over 80% of our flowering crops which constitute one third of everything we eat.
Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides used to coat seeds to protect them from insects and pests in the early stages of growing. The coated seeds are only used for planting and never for human consumption. However, neonicotinoids, which are classified as neurotoxins, can build up in land and water habitats and affect pollinators – like honey bees – ability to fly, navigate, and taste.
‘We can all agree. Let’s not put them on there if there’s no need.’ Norm said in reference to Neonicotinoids usage. In planning for the 2016 growing season, Norm and his team at Preferred Popcorn, decided to source 85% of their popcorn seeds without neonicotinoid treatment and reduced the use of the treated seed as much as possible. For the 2017 season, Norm and his team have committed to 100% neonicotinoid free seed.
“Farmers are environmentalists. We’re all on the same team here.”
Norm Krug, Preferred Popcorn Founder
Norm has been farming in Merrick County, Nebraska for most of his life. It’s where he raised his family and now has ten grandchildren running around on his land. He is committed to doing as little as possible to intervene in the natural growing process. He practices conservation tillage, which means leaving crop residue behind after harvest to disrupt the soil as little as possible. On Norm’s farm, the cows are turned out to the fields after the popcorn ears are harvested. The cows find any food left behind and naturally reduce the amount of organic matter so he does not have to till the soil the next spring, which would release more carbon into the atmosphere. Not to mention it’s a great way to fertilize “naturally”, reducing the need for commercial fertilizer.
“If we take bees out of the equation, our lives will change forever”
Nicholas Butler, Good Time Bee Farm
We work hard to build relationships with our suppliers and support farming practices that are sustainable and safe for the environment. It’s equally important for us to stand with others that are working for real change in food and beyond. That’s why we are joining Patagonia, the Environmental Working Group, and others to call on the Environmental Protection Agency to end the use of non-essential neonicotinoids and help growers transition to practices that will protect our pollinators, the environment, and the future of food!