After starting my beekeeping journey in 2012, I quickly became aware of the environmental issues that were directly affecting honey bees. At the time neonicotinoids were very much in the news as research had found that they caused significant harm to bees, as well as to other wildlife, and colony collapse disorder was sweeping through the US.
When we founded Black Bee Honey in 2017 we were committed to creating a sustainable business which benefited our beekeepers and bees which ultimately meant protecting and improving the environment in which they live. This is why we’ve now launched ‘Meadow Mission’.
Meadow Mission is our commitment to create 1,000 acres of new wildflower meadow habitat in the UK by 2030 - we’re achieving this by donating 2% of our turnover to UK based charity Plantlife.
During World War II huge swathes of wildflower meadow across the British Isles were dug to grow crops to help with the national food shortage. And following the war agriculture had changed as mixed farms of both livestock and crops were replaced with large fields growing a much smaller variety of crops which relied on artificial nitrogen fertilisers. This led to huge changes across the British countryside, and by 1996 it was estimated that we’d lost 97% of grassland in less than a century.
It is believed that:
- 20-30% of our native plants are now extinct
- Butterfly species have declined by between 25-55%
- Insect populations have reduced by almost 50% since 1970.
With this dramatic loss of natural habitat, far fewer honey bee colonies are now found in the wild and, sadly, it’s mainly down to beekeepers to sustain the majority of the British honey bee population. By supporting British bee farmers to expand their apiaries, we believe it’s our responsibility to help increase the vital wildflower habitats to ensure there is enough food, not only for the honey bees, but for all insect pollinators, and thus Meadow Mission was launched!