Bee the Future

Going back to our roots, to the land and agriculture by sowing 100 hectares with flowers loved by bees to help restore biodiversity: because as the classic Italian children's song says, "To make a seed, you need a bee"!

In 2018, Eataly launched the Bee the Future project to sow 100 hectares with flowers loved by bees and restore biodiversity to some Italian agricultural areas where it is being lost.

Without bees, apricots, strawberries, cherries, apples, pears, citrus, peaches, kiwis, chestnuts, plums, almonds, melons, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, radishes, asparagus, courgettes, carrots and onions would disappear from our tables, in other words 70 of the top 100 crops in the world (source Fao).

The Bee The Future project seeks to go back to our roots, to the land and agriculture, through a three-year commitment sowing 100 hectares in Italy with flowers bees love. Objective: to bring back plant biodiversity in those areas where it is disappearing due to agricultural methods based on high yields.

Seminiamo la biodiversità

The problem of bee mortality and its causes

The number of bees worldwide has drastically reduced in the last 50 years, and bee colony mortality in Europe stands at around 20%. It is estimated that 84% of the 264 species cultivated in Europe depend on insect pollination and 4,000 plant species survive thanks to bees and pollinating insects.

Experts agree that there is no single cause behind this critical mortality, but one of the most serious causes is definitely the pollution generated by phytosanitary treatments. With the advent of industrial agriculture, we began growing monocultures. We began using herbicides to kill weeds, many of which are critical for bees. We stopped growing cover crops, and we began using synthetic fertilisers.

The starting point

The work planned by Eataly with Arcoiris, the only exclusively organic seed company in Italy, Francesco Sottile, exponent of the executive Slow Food committee and professor of the Departments of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of the University of Palermo, and the non-profit Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity began in areas intensely cultivated with monocultures, in particular:

- the areas dedicated to the monoculture of maize in Piedmont;
- the vast Prosecco area in Veneto;
- the land used for intensive cattle breeding in the Po Valley;
- the agricultural areas used for hazelnut monoculture in Lazio;
- the agricultural areas used for table grape monoculture in Puglia.

The "Resisters"

In these areas, we looked for farmers willing to start with us. We called them "Resisters", because they are determined to go ahead with models of virtuous agriculture in areas badly affected by the death of insects.

Monitoring the project’s benefits

Professor Francesco Sottile has developed a project monitoring system that will allow us to calculate the benefits of this action over the medium and long term. In the spring, in collaboration with the University of Palermo, the Professor will visit the areas where the mixture has been sown to examine the results obtained so far.

Bee The Future: il fiordaliso

Bee the Future: a unique project

Bee the Future - 100 hectares for the future of bees is a unique project because:
- it is not about honey, but about bees and agriculture;
- it interacts with a network of virtuous farmers, the Resisters, the real protagonists of the project;
- the flower mixture is composed of organic Italian seeds;
- the areas chosen include some of the main Italian agricultural areas, thus not abandoned areas, but highly profitable agricultural ones.

The goals achieved and the next initiatives to support bees

After being launched in September 2018, in less than three years the project has reached the goal of sowing 100 hectares of bee-friendly flowers thanks to the many Resister Farmers who have joined. They have sown the special mixture of seeds produced by Arcoiris in their land, with small farms in various regions.

Bee The Future: Mauro Iob Vetralla

You can contribute too

Each of us can contribute to turning the tide through small, concrete, precious gestures: you can purchase Bee the Future seed sachets in all the Eataly shops, and grow bee-friendly plants on your balcony or in your garden. The flowers that grow need little water, but will guarantee healthy refreshment for the bees living in your neighbourhood.

Bee the Future carries on
We are ready to launch a new phase of Bee the Future in 2021, with the aim of continuing our campaign to support biodiversity and bees. We will soon be ready to tell you all about our next steps...