The Pittsburgh location of Whole Foods Market®, the leading natural and organic food retailer, teamed up with Burgh Bees®, a non-profit aimed to promote bees and beekeeping, to insert 2 private bee hives to the market’s store.  The Pittsburgh location is the first store in the Mid-Atlantic region to add hives in order to heighten awareness regarding the massive declines in honey bee populations.

In 2006, North American beekeepers found that in certain colonies, adult bees suddenly vanished. As more than 100 types of crops in the US are pollinated by bees, a movement has focused international attention on honey bee populations. Whole Foods Market has a history of holistic outlook about food and its’ origins. In an efforts to support honey bees, Whole Foods Market® stores throughout the country has teamed up to support Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.

“Bees pollinate a third of our diet, yet they’re literally vanishing from their hives,”says Kristin Gross, marketing director for Whole Foods Market’s® Mid-Atlantic region. “Many people have no idea that honey bees play an essential role in our agricultural system. By raising awareness of the issue we hope to motivate people to take action and share the many ways they can be part of the solution.”

Whole Foods Market® Pittsburgh added the hives to provide an opportunity to spread awareness to the community, their customers and their team members about the many benefits of beekeeping and the importance of honeybees in the environment. In addition, the grocer also plans on hosting bee keeping classes to further education interested parties and sell Burgh Bees® t-shirts, as a way to raise awareness about the organization, as well as the partnership.  Next year, both parties hope to produce enough honey via the hives to sell in-stores in bulk.

“A unique opportunity arose to install two hives at our Pittsburgh location, and we did not shy away from the challenge,” answered Theresa Furrer, a representative from the Whole Foods Market® Pittsburgh store. “As a voice in the community, they often look to us for ‘what’s next’ philanthropically. Beekeeping promotes stewardship of the environment, and we are thrilled to partner with Burgh Bees® to highlight this interactive partnership.”

To celebrate the installation of the new bee hives, Whole Foods Market® Pittsburgh launched a “share the buzz” Honeybee campaign to raise awareness for the dying breed.  Additionally, the store will also host a honey tasting event for all Whole Foods Market shoppers on July 21, 2012.

For more information, videos and ways to support honey bees please visit: