Sunday, January 2, 2011

Native Pollinators and Urban Agriculture

There's an exciting new project in the planning stages. It involves bumblebees and other native pollinators and it's called "Sustainable Pollination for Urban Agriculture in Southern Ontario."

Bumblebee on Borage
The project aims to examine the diversity and assess the patterns and trends of pollinator effectiveness in urban agricultural systems. Our project will engage citizens and organized groups to participate in data collection and exchange while simultaneously becoming pollinator stewards and developing the skills and knowledge to create bee habitat in their gardens. We will disseminate information and results from our project to the public on an ongoing basis and will feature our findings during International Pollinator Week events in Toronto, an annual event that raises awareness about the importance of pollinators through celebratory, engaging and interactive programs. These activities will enlighten urban citizens on conservation and bee-friendly activities, ensuring the ecological health and integrity of Toronto and other cities in Southern Ontario.

The goals of the project are to:

1. To create a culture of conservation within Toronto citizens using urban pollinator stewardship and food production as focal points for connecting to the natural world.

2. To impact education of people who previously knew little or nothing about the connection between pollination, food security, and ecosystem health.

3. To assess the impact of bee diversity and abundance on yield of commonly grown urban food crops throughout the city of Toronto.

4. To map the distribution of bee diversity in Toronto and identify areas in which the urban agricultural productivity may be limited by pollinator abundance and diversity.

5. To correct pollinator limitation through management and augmentation using applied means.

Problem is, research costs money. And so far, not enough funds have been found to support this project.

If you have any resources or suggestions that might help to make this important project happen, the project participants would like to know about it.

Principal project participants are York University bee biologist, Dr. Laurence Packer, PhD student, J. Scott MacIvor, and recent M.A. graduate and winner of a 2010 pollinator award, Sabrina Malach. Also involved will be staff at the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the York Foundation.

You can contact Sabrina Malach at

[Thanks to Sabrina Malach for the text of today's post. Photo by Tauno Erik: CC License]

1 comment:

  1. Happy new year!!

    looks very interesting... good luck!

    Have you seen:



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