Celebrating Pollinators at the Gaia Herbs Farm

Published on June 17, 2024

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

The fields and forests at the Gaia Herbs farm are buzzing with excitement and great diversity this time of year. The landscape at the farm provides our local pollinators and resident honey bees a 270-acre organic oasis where they can live and thrive. Many of the medicinal crops being grown are now in full-bloom alongside small forested patches of native plants and trees. What a fantastic time and place to celebrate Pollinator Week!

Pollinator Week is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health that was initiated and is managed by Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit with a mission to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research.

According to Pollinator Partnership, “Pollinator Week 2024 is a celebration of the vital role that pollinators play in our ecosystems, economies, and agriculture. This year's event urges us to envision a future where pollinators not only survive but thrive. These essential creatures, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, and hummingbirds, are the unsung heroes behind the food we enjoy and the beauty that surrounds us. As we reflect on the interconnectedness of our world, let's unite in a collective effort to protect and preserve these crucial pollinators. By understanding the impact of our actions on their habitats and embracing sustainable practices, we can pave the way for a flourishing future. Join us in celebrating Pollinator Week 2024, and let's cultivate a world where both nature and humanity thrive in harmony.”

Gaia Herbs’ Farm Hives

Our local beekeepers, Devin Gentry and Lindsay Green, from Bee. honey + hive steward 50 honey bee colonies on the farm that are spread out between two locations. Fun fact: The area where beehives are kept is known as an apiary, with its Latin root of Apis, meaning bee.

Each honey bee colony contains between 20,000 and 80,000 honey bees. That’s a lot of pollinators! The extra boost of bees on the Gaia Herbs Farm helps to increase crop yields of medicinal plants that are used in many Gaia Herbs products while ensuring native plants and trees receive the vital pollination they depend on. 

Many people are aware that the population of numerous pollinator species are in decline and want to do something about it. Often, their first instinct is to want to become a beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a very rewarding hobby or business to get into, however, it does require a great deal of specialized knowledge, investment, and hard work to keep colonies healthy and productive. 

Did you know that there are over 4,000 species of bees native to North America? They need your help too! Habitat loss is one of the major contributing factors of pollinator decline. With a little effort and some small changes, you can do something about it, just like the farm at Gaia Herbs!

In addition to being certified organic, Gaia Herbs farm has taken significant steps to create a healthier habitat for pollinators by allowing plants, shrubs, and trees to grow in large hedgerows between fields and also by taking select areas that were regularly mowed and letting them grow into native wildflower meadows. This is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to help pollinators. 

More flowers mean more nectar and pollen to go around as well as an increase in the availability of vital reproductive habitat, which for many native pollinators, is inside decaying wood and the hollow stems of various plants. 

Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat

Create a pollinator habitat at your own home, school, or workplace by following these helpful tips:

1.) Consult with those in charge and select an area of lawn that is not being utilized for playing, entertaining, etc. 

  • Hillsides, steep slopes, ditches, and corners of properties that get mowed or trimmed often are great areas for a lawn-to-meadow conversion project. It doesn’t have to be a huge area! 
  • Shape the area into a crescent, teardrop, or other design of your choice to create visual interest and intentionality. Consider having one or more walking paths through the area. 
  • Keep a border of mown grass near sidewalks, driveways, and roads to help reduce any negative interactions with tall plants that may bend or hang over due to wind and rain. A minimum of 6 ft is a good buffer for paths and borders. 

2.) Stop mowing the area you have selected. Oftentimes, there is a seed bank of native wildflowers and grasses in the soil just waiting to grow! 

  • To increase diversity, consider roughing up areas with a hard rake and overseeding with a native wildflower mix and/or transplanting pollinator friendly species throughout the area. 

3.) Enjoy the new pollinator habitat you created! The local bees, butterflies, moths, and other wildlife sure will!

  • Mow the area once a year in very late winter or early spring to prevent woody shrubs and trees from taking over the area. 
  •  Consider registering your project with Pollinator Partnership, or as a certified Monarch Waystation like the Gaia Herbs Farm, and adding a sign to show your community that you are supporting pollinators and to encourage more involvement!