By Kate Corry-Saavedra, Slow Food USA Intern
In the last two parts of this series, we have explored the subtle, yet vital ways in which biodiversity contributes to a good, clean and fair food system. The honeys on the Ark of Taste perfectly illustrate how amazing biodiversity is. I personally chose to use them as examples due to my first-hand experience raising bees and producing honey. In my Los Angeles backyard, I have raised bees for about three years. I started my hive after becoming involved in an effort to legalize urban beekeeping in LA, just as in other major cities like New York, London and nearby Santa Monica. The idea behind urban beekeeping is that, contrary to popular belief, cities are actually some of the safest environments for honeybees. Whereas many rural or farm-heavy environments are filled with vast monocultures, the wide diversity of plant-life in cities provides a reliable, sustainable and healthy food source for honeybees.
Within just a few weeks of starting our hive, our backyard had a whole new dimension of life. Birds that we had never seen before bagman to linger in the garden, watching the hive closely, waiting for the perfect moment to dive down and snatch up a bee. I began to notice more butterflies, hummingbirds and other types of bees. That year, we had more avocados from our tree than we had ever had before, and our other fruit trees thrived as well. With the addition of a beehive, we had created a miniature ecosystem, and the benefits to our small urban farm were clear. It became increasingly clear to me that agriculture is simply biology put to work, and biological systems cannot exist without diversity. Our food system must be supported by biodiversity, so must start eating to save it.