Along with birds, they have long been used as a metaphor for where babies come from, but in recent years, we’ve learned the more important role they play. Bees – arguably the most prolific and best known of our pollinators – have a hand, so to speak, in a large amount of the food we eat. The problem is, the bee population has been declining at an alarming rate; Newsweek and others reported in 2015 a yearly loss of more than 40% of pollinator colonies.
The folks at Justin’s in Boulder, Colo., want to spread the word … and the pollen. A member of the Hormel Foods family, the Justin’s® brand team has been championing bees for years, recently upping its game with a brand-new education campaign, a partnership with the National Honey Board, a donation to Project Apis m, a digital pledge for consumers and a bushel of prizes.
“One out of every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators, like bees,” says Penny Andino, vice president of marketing at Justin’s. “… They pollinate a wide range of plants we know and love, including crops like almonds.”
That hits close to home for the nut-butter company. In fact, Justin’s wouldn’t be the same or perhaps even be around without the help of pollinators to fertilize their primary ingredients. But for this team, saving the pollinators is much more than a business strategy; it goes to the heart of its belief in the need to protect the planet.
As evidence that she does more than talk the talk, Andino and her husband recently did away with their grass lawn, opting for pollinator-friendly plants and rock landscaping. It saves time, money and natural resources, she says, and it doesn’t require any pesticides to keep it looking good.
The latter is one of the main threats to pollinators, which include birds, butterflies, other insects and even small mammals, in addition to bees. Chemicals that keep lawns, yards and gardens free of weeds and pests don’t discriminate; they attack pollinators with the same vigilance. According to Andino, refraining from the use of pesticides is something we can all do at home to help the bees regain their foothold. “It’s a massive part of the problem,” she says.
In the past few years, the situation has improved slightly. Instead of watching 40% of our pollinators disappear annually, we’re now at 39%, reports Bee Informed. Education is making a difference, Andino says.
“We have moved the needle a little bit. Companies like Justin’s are helping to raise awareness and support organizations [that are helping].”
It’s a message of hope – and a call to action – we all need to hear.
“We all have the power to help change this trajectory,” she says.
Note: Justin’s invites fans to visit JustinsNutsAboutBees.com to learn how pollinators help ensure foods like almonds and other ingredients in Justin’s® products are available for years to come, along with simple ways we can all help support the bees. By taking a digital pledge to plant for pollinators during June’s National Pollinators Month, all participants will automatically be entered in a Justin’s giveaway for a chance to win buzzworthy prizes valued at more than $3,500.