You may not realize the importance of pollinators until you stop by your local farmers’ Market. Pollinators are responsible for cross-pollinating plants, and without them, our food supply would be depleted.
Pollinators are an integral part of our lives, as they help pollinate plants and crops that we depend on for food. Pollinators include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other bugs that transfer pollen from one plant to another. So every time you eat a fruit or vegetable (or drink a glass of milk), there’s a chance that pollination helped make it possible.
Pollination happens when insects such as bees and butterflies fly around flowers looking for nectar they use. As these insects visit each flower with pollen hanging on their bodies, they also leave some of it behind.
Some people think that pollinators are just a blessing to the food industry and have no idea how important they really are for all life in our planet’s ecosystems. Pollination is essential for producing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coffee beans, and many other foods we need every day.
Pollinators and what they do for us?
When we think of the word ‘produce,’ we instantly envision fruits and vegetables. But there is a fantastic wildlife component that often goes forgotten about: pollinators.
Pollinators affect our daily lives, and many of them are surprisingly intriguing. Some you might be familiar with (bees or butterflies), but others may surprise you; birds, bats, and other creatures all help in pollination!
Pollinators help convert the sun’s light into flavorful foods that you enjoy every day! Without them, most plants wouldn’t be able to reproduce or grow, which means lower harvests and higher prices– not only for ourselves but also for people who live in communities worldwide where many depend heavily on their agricultural resources.
It is estimated that at least 1,300 different plants are grown for human use and consumption worldwide. Over 75% is pollinated by animals, making up more than one-third of what we eat and drink. Thus, pollinators are vital in the production of most of what we eat.
Ethnobotany is the study of how people from a particular culture and region use native plants. Since hunting and gathering times, we have depended on the unique relationship that these organisms have, which has helped us survive. For example, plants provide:
- Food, medicine, shelter materials, including fibers/textiles, or building material like wood-based products.
- Dyes are used in clothing coloring as well as providing aesthetic beauty to items such as baskets.
- Oils for cooking purposes or hydration when using plant oil instead of animal fats – soaps made with natural resources rather than toxic chemicals.
Pollination is an essential process that helps support life on earth. Yet despite their importance, these amazing creatures often go unnoticed by humans who take them for granted, all too easily without realizing what it means to be deprived of a natural resource like a bee or hummingbird buzzing about in your garden.
When it comes to plants, there’s so much to think about, but one of the most essential aspects is pollination. Pollination is the process in which pollen from stamens is transferred to a female reproductive organ. Pollinators during this crucial time could be anything like bees, butterflies, and more! When pollinating crops, the yield comes out great with larger fruits that have higher crop yields as well as being tastier than ever before- not only does your garden grow happier, but you do too because of increased food production!
Pollinator populations worldwide have been steadily declining alarmingly, mainly due to excessive use of pesticides and the conversion of landscapes into human-made habitats, which offer few resources. So what can you do?
Create Pollinator Habitats
Use native flowering plants and trees to attract pollinators. They’ll thrive on nutrient-rich nectar and pollen, so find out what your region’s natives are before you plant them!
This Sunday, you can come speak with members of the Golden Valley Garden club about Grow Pollinator-friendly plants. They’ll have over a dozen varieties of plants for sun and shade sourced locally from Minnesota Growers. Some of the plants they’ll have available for purchase include; Prairie Coreopsis, Purple Prairie Clover, Sky Blue Aster, Wild Geranium, Wild Blue Phlox, Leafy Satin Grass. They also have “Simple Steps Help Pollinators” signs to promote and draw attention to Pollinator Friendly’s gardens.
But what else can you do to support pollinator communities?
Some simple ideas you can do this weekend include providing water for pollinators by filling a shallow birdbath or creating a muddy patch. Then, when planting your new flowers, try plants that are native to the region. Finally, to support pollinators, place plants close together in existing clusters and make their habitat easily accessible, like felled logs or bare patches of soil.
Nature is the best defense against unwanted bugs! The native plants in your garden attract beneficial insects that prey on common pests, and by doing so, discourage them from coming close. A healthy ecosystem results in fewer pest problems for you to worry about. So consider planting diverse varieties of plants may help to provide habitat for pollinator populations in several different settings.
Including a wide selection of flowering plants with different flower sizes, shapes, and colors will help attract the greatest number of pollinators. Plantings that mimic native plant communities are the best way to resist pest, disease, and weed epidemics. Natural plant associates will share similar light, moisture, and nutrient needs, so they are more likely to thrive when grouped together. It is helpful to observe and learn the kinds of flowers that attract pollinators, such as bees or butterflies. Get out and walk around your neighborhood, notice the thriving gardens and note what types of plants are being used.
Want to learn more about supporting Pollinators?
Start by talking to the vendors at the Market; We are lucky enough to have Rusch Farms as a resident beekeeper vendor and they have been at the market for the past 4 years. If you haven’t stopped by their booth yet, stop by and say hi. Virtually all our other growers to reap the benefits of healthy ecosystems and pollinator communities. Be sure to ask about their farming practices and their relationship with these pollinators.
- You can also talk to other growers or visit your local garden centers to find other native species that will look beautiful in your garden.
- Or consider joining clubs or organizations like the Golden Valley Garden Club to learn how to create and maintain healthy gardens.
- Get outside and explore your own backyard and surrounding neighborhood. Look around and find all the beautiful gardens and natural areas that are helping to support our Pollinators.
- If you missed it, near the entrance to the Market, next to City Hall, you can find an example of Pollinator Garden.
- And if you’re in the area, visit your local library. Golden Valley Public Library is open 6 days a week and just a stone’s throw from the Market, 1 block north of Golden Valley Road off of Winnetka, so consider stopping by after the Market this Sunday.
Finally, invite others to join in the conversation and share their knowledge—especially with future generations. To promote more biodiversity in urban areas, help combat climate change, and provide vital ecosystem services that no one can live without. For example, we need to ensure the survival of our pollinators to ensure the health of our own future. By supporting your local growers and business, you, in turn, are supporting the local ecosystem.
Vendors at the Market this Week
Here’s a list of the businesses at the market: