A new report released by The Organic Center reveals organic farming plays a crucial role in supporting thriving honey bees and other crop pollinator species, many of which have been dying off at rapid rates in recent years.
While the exact cause of die-off for honey bees and other pollinators (such as monarch butterflies) has not been identified, many scientists now believe the deaths are mostly a result of herbicides and pesticides.
The Organic Center’s report entitled "The Role of Organic in Supporting Pollinator Health," reviewed more than 70 studies that looked at pollinator health risks and the impact of organic farming methods. Not only did the paper find reason to support organic farming, but it also pointed to a number of methods that could be employed by conventional farmers to help save more pollinators.
"Our paper takes an in-depth look at the challenges faced by honey bees and other pollinators, and we look at organic as a model for supporting pollinator populations," Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center said in a statement. "We hope this report acts as a tool to educate policymakers, growers and consumers. Bee-friendly practices being used by organic farmers can be adopted by all producers to foster healthy pollinators."
According to The Organic Center, 75 percent of all crops grown for food rely on pollinators, mostly honey bees. Their work amounts to about $16 billion worth of pollinating.
"One of the simplest ways to conserve our pollinator populations in an agriculturally reliant world is through organic farming. Consumers can rest assured that every time they purchase an organic product, they are supporting pollinator health," said Shade.
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Honey bee image via Shutterstock