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Bee The Future - 100 hectares for the future of bees

"It takes a bee to make a seed"

Without bees, apricots, strawberries, cherries, apples, pears, citrus, peaches, kiwis, chestnuts, plums, almonds, melons, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, radishes, asparagus, zucchinis, carrots and onions would disappear from our tables, in other words 70 of the top 100 crops in the world (source Fao). This is because when bees move from flower to flower, they collect nectar and pollen and pollinate plants, thereby allowing them to reproduce. Their role is fundamental for our food as well as for the survival of biodiversity and, therefore, for life on Earth.

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The Bee the Future project is a 3-year reforestation project that aims to start with the land and agriculture, redistributing 100 hectares in Italy and replanting it with flowers bees love: the goal is to bring back plant biodiversity in those areas where it is disappearing due to agricultural methods based on high yields. Because "It takes a bee to make a seed! ".

Reforestation versus monoculture

The reforestation programmed by Eataly with Arcoiris, the only Italian organic seed company headed by Antonio Lo Fiego, Francesco Sottile, lecturer at the Departments of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of the University of Palermo, and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity onlus is starting from areas under intensive monoculture cultivation, specifically:

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

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The "Resisters"

In these areas, we looked for farmers to get started with. 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.

Flowers for bees

Meanwhile Arcoiris has developed a mixture of Italian, organic and non-hybrid seeds useful both for bees' foraging and for green manure. The mixture is composed of 10 plants (buckwheat, Alexandrine clover, coriander, facel, flax, mustard, rocket, sunflower and clover). In the spring of 2018 we started delivering the mixture to the Resisters, who sowed it on their land.
We also created a small selection of seeds in sachets, aimed at non-professionals, so that those who want to sow bee-friendly plants (sunflower, mauve, calendula and a thousand flowers mixture) in pots or on land they own, can do so, even outside the 4 areas identified.

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How we monitor the benefits of the project

Finally, 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.

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