The wings that feed

Much like our plants at Red Wagon, us humans need nourishing food and water to stay healthy and alive.  That’s why we love selling plants to gardeners; so they can grow their own food and cultivate their own nourishment.  Too often, though, we forget about one of the most important keys to our nourishment:  pollination. Pollination is what allows us to grow fruits and vegetables. And, while it seems hyperbolic to say, it is true that a world without pollinators is a world without food.  Many of us are learning more about the issues pesticides create for pollinators, but it is less known just how precisely important pollinators are to our food system.  An article published by the Pollinator Stewardship Council titled, “Ecosystem Service of Pollinators” pointed out that one study assigned “an economic value to the ‘ecosystem services’ provided by pollinators at approximately $167 billion”.  The study also pointed out that pollinators not only affect the quantities of food produced, but they “may also have a beneficial impact on nutritional security-the availability of essential macro-and micronutrients in the human diet”. One study focusing on the nutritional benefits pollinators have on produce found that cross-pollinated almonds had a higher ratio of oleic to linoleic acids-a desirable “cardioprotective” quality for consumers.  Another study sited showed that “bee-pollinated strawberries were more red, were heavier and firmer and had reduced sugar-acid ratios,” which proved to have higher market value and were healthier for consumers". So, while these studies are new and we still need more information, it is unarguable that pollinators are the lifeblood of our food system.  And, we should take care of them as they take such good care of us.