Whole Foods Market® Short Pump, the leading natural and organic food retailer, has added a bee hive to their Village Community Garden, the store’s first and largest on-site community garden in Richmond.  This addition to the landscape will build 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.”

Located in a remote area of the garden – as not to interfere with the safety of garden visitors and bees – the hive’s purpose is to provide the garden with a bounty of pollinators, which will give the community garden a higher crop yield.  The grocer looks to harvest the honey from the hives years to come.
“The honey bees are a very welcoming addition to our Village Community Garden,” says Linda Thomas, Whole Foods Market’s® Short Pump Store Team Leader. “Our garden team members are in the process of being taught the art of beekeeping, so that we are able to sustain a healthy, natural and prosperous hive for years to come.”

To date, the Village Community Garden features an education garden, 14 production beds, a fruit orchard, 40 community rental plots and compost bins. Whole Foods Market Short Pump donates all of the food grown in the production beds to the Central Virginia Food Bank, an organization  that brings hunger relief to 31 counties and five cities through acquiring foods and distributing these items to communities, families, and individuals that need them.

On Sunday, June 24th the garden celebrated its two year anniversary with free live music, garden tours, demonstrations, refreshments, games & crafts for the kids. Additionally, the anniversary fete included events promoting upcoming honey bee awareness such as: a free Kids in the Garden Class: Planting for Pollinators class where children will learn about pollinators (like honeybees) and which plants attracts them to gardens with hands-on planting activities.

For more information, videos and ways to support honey bees please visit: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/sharethebuzz.