Photos Kristi Crawford
Beekeepers across the United States have seen dramatic bee colony losses almost every year since 2006. In 2013, the Willamette Valley was especially hard hit with colony losses higher than the national average. Farmers and the poor are especially vulnerable to the consequences of this unfortunate situation. Farmers must pay higher prices for crop pollination as fewer honey bees colonies are available during critical times of the year. The increase in pollination fees and decrease in food production contribute to the rising cost of food. These unfortunate circumstances make fresh, unprocessed foods less accessible to economically disadvantaged families.
The Corvallis Environmental Center and Nectar Bee Supply have come together to create an event that increases public awareness of the growing pollinator problem: Buzz About Benton, the first annual self-guided tour of backyard beehives in Corvallis. This June 30 event will provide an opportunity for participants to see bee colonies at work, talk with neighborhood beekeepers, and even witness the inner workings of an active beehive in a safe, guided format.
The proceeds will go in large part to the Starker Arts Garden for Education, which provides over three tons of fresh, nutritious produce to local food banks and soup kitchens every year, from only a single acre of land. This phenomenal feat is accomplished by over 300 community volunteers and a small but dedicated staff.
Tickets can be purchased at the Corvallis Environmental Center website or at either of the First Alternative co-op locations in Corvallis.