Bee Sustainable

Growing up in the 1960s I was every bit the city girl. I didn’t belong to 4-H and farming was not in my future. In college we all read “Silent Spring” and “Diet for a Small Planet.” We wouldn’t have described ourselves as environmentalists, although looking back, both books projected a tone of concern for the environment. And sustainability was certainly not in our vocabulary. At least not in 1978.

Over the years I have had small gardens, usually not successful. It is only in the last five years or so that I learned about nematodes in the Florida soil. I’ve planted many things in pots or containers because one of my dogs likes to lie in turned-over dirt or fresh mulch, thereby squashing all of my hard work.

Now I have Earth Boxes and if I time my planting right, we actually get peppers and green beans. I’ve had pineapples and so-called “heat-tolerant” tomato plants in the boxes, and have started pumpkin and zucchini seeds in pots. With any luck I will be picking bananas this fall and ripe tomatoes in November. I will have lemons in December, tangerines in January, strawberries in February and blueberries and blackberries in April and May. Wow! When I see this in writing I am really impressed with myself!

I am sure you’ve heard sustainability advice like buy seasonal and local. But there are other things we can do that have an impact as well. I collect rain water in a barrel to use on my plants and flowers. Last year when my daughter moved home from college we started composting and kicked our recycling up a notch.

Last spring, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics adopted sustainable agriculture as a solution to food insecurity. You don’t have to be a farmer to support sustainable farming — for instance, I am helping the Florida farmer by raising bees!

Most crops depend upon bee pollination, so you can thank a bee for every third bite of delicious produce that you enjoy. But since about 1988 there has been a marked shortage of bees caused by Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. The exact cause of the disorder is still up for debate, but it could be a result of pesticide use, viruses, cell phone towers or a combination of factors. Along with temperature, sun and rain, bees are responsible for crop yield and, by the year 2050, the world’s population will be 9 billion.

So, not only are my plants benefiting but so are local farmers. What are you doing to alleviate food insecurity and/or promote sustainable agriculture?

Nadine Pazder on Twitter
Nadine Pazder
Nadine Pazder, LDN, RD, lives in Florida and has been in her current position as outpatient dietitian in Clearwater for the past 20 years. She also facilitates diabetes prevention groups for the YMCA in Pinellas County. Connect with her on her blog, How About Them Apples, or on Twitter.