2013 Day of Honey Bee


WHEN: Took place on Saturday 25 May 2013, 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m
WHERE: Forks Market, Winnipeg; Centre Court area, near kitchen (Centre Aisle-West end)
WHAT: Celebrated the Importance of Honey Bee for pollination
WHO: Food consumers, gardeners, farmers and fruit growers are invited
WHY: To see and learn which foods depend on pollinators.

The Manitoba Beekeepers Association (MBA) successfully requested the Provincial Government, and several Rural Minicipalities (ST.Andrews, Rosser, Rockwood, Gimli, and Whitemouth) around Winnipeg, to proclaim 29 May 2013 as “The Day of The Honey Bee” in recognition of their importance for pollinating plants producing foods people eat.

MBA represents about 500 beekeepers with over 78,000 colonies of honey bees, contributing about $20M to the economy of Manitoba. Although ‘Honey” is our main product visible on store shelves, bee pollination services results in many fruit, vegetable and seed crops being available, not only in Manitoba, but in many agricultural locations across the country. Although Honey represents about a $20M industry in Manitoba, it is estimated that the results of pollination contributes approximately $40M to our Manitoba economy.

One particularly important pollination service takes place, in February, in the Almond Orchards of California, which ultimately produce the Almond nuts we enjoy as a health food and as an everyday treat. Meanwhile here in Canada, the prairie provinces are number one in the world for Hybrid Canola pollination, and were number two in the world for Blueberry pollination. In Manitoba, gardeners, farmers and fruit growers depend on pollinators for apples, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, cantaloupe and other such produce.

The general public is becoming more aware of the need for pollinators due to the media coverage of the decline in bee population required for things such as almond pollination. Honey Bee decline, although not fully explained, as there are several factors contributing to the situation, is causing concern, as about 1/3 of the food we eat comes from pollinated plants. To increase public awareness of the value of pollination and the linkage to the many foods we eat, MBA joined many other groups and individuals for the Canada-wide Celebration of “The Day of The Honey Bee”.

Celebrations in 2012 took place in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Meanwhile other provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec had municipalities and cities recognizing the day, plus other cities came on board as the celebration date approached.

In addition, one of the more active promoters of the awareness day celebration has been Clinton Shane Ekdahl from Saskatoon, SK, who plans several events leading up to May 29th. Shane was instrumental in selecting the May 29th date, in part; to honour the date adventurers reached the top of Mount Everest. For those following such adventures, Edmund Hilary was the first to climb Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Edmund was also a passionate naturalist and a dedicated beekeeper.

For the Manitoba Celebration, three groups join forces for the promotion. MBA, the provincial honey producer organization, in conjunction with the Red River Apiarists Association, the Winnipeg area hobby beekeeper group, and the Brandon Area Beekeepers Association, plan a “Honey Bees-Good to Us” promotion at The Forks Market, Winnipeg.

To honour the “Day of the Honey Bee”, their importance to the agricultural community, contribution to the provincial economy, environmental friendly impact, plus their contribution to our food supply, and our need to protect them, several events may take place, along with communications with beekeepers throughout the day.

For 2013 we planned to feature photographs of various food, fruits and Vegetables pollinated by bees. Meanwhile, The main focus for last year was a table filled with foods from plants requiring pollination (i.e. Sunflower, Raspberry, Pumpkins, Canola (oil), cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, mint etc). Other features include pollination presentations from honey producers, videos on importance of bees, interactive display of live bees hosted by honey producers, favourite food contest for children, and vendors promoting floral specific honey and other hive products. In addition, we incorporated radio, TV and other media coverage leading up to the event.

Beekeepers from across Manitoba invited all interested gardeners, farmers, and food consumers, their families, friends, and relatives to gather at the Forks Market, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Market opens at 9:00 a.m. and folks can shop at all outlets until 6:00 p.m. closing time on Sunday.

The “Live” Honey Bee display was in the Centre-west aisle, often called Centre Court. We were located adjacent to the kitchen area at the west end of the aisle.

For more information, contact Jim Campbell at 467-5246, or Charles Polcyn at 284-7064, or any of the beekeeping club members.