Agriculture and conservation experts have warned of the threat of extinction of some of the UK’s best-loved crops, predicting that we are on the brink of a biodiversity crisis because of our dwindling population of pollinators – such as bees, butterflies and bugs.
According to conservation experts, a third of the food we eat every day relies on pollinators, which are suffering due to habitat fragmentation, essentially a lack of regular patches of pollinator friendly flowers across the country.
This pollinator network is critical to help bees and other insects to transfer pollen around the nation to effectively pollinate plants and the foods we love.
Many farmers across the UK are tackling this habitat fragmentation by creating pollinator patches on their land, but according to experts, this isn’t enough on its own to address the problem.
Dairy cooperative, Arla, which is owned by 2,300 farmers in the UK, is urging Brits to give up a corner of their back gardens, back yards, balconies, hanging baskets, window boxes or plant pots to help save our pollinators.
Working in partnership with the invertebrate conservation charity, Buglife, Arla is encouraging a nationwide planting of flower seeds to try to avert the crisis.
Roger Hildreth, an Arla farmer in Yorkshire, comments, “Arla’s farmer owners have been working to support biodiversity both through a scheme we call ‘project pollinator’ but also as part of Arla’s overall farm standards programme for many years.
“Working alongside Buglife, we see how urgent this issue is and feel now is the time to ask the nation to also heed the call and help us help nature. It’s vital that the Great British public and businesses join us and help fill in the gaps, ensuring our treasured pollinators are never far from a pit stop.”
Said Paul Hetherington, director at Buglife: “One out of every three mouthfuls of the food we eat every day depends on pollinators.
“These pollinators are the backbone of our biodiversity and without them there would be no British strawberries, apples, cherries, carrots, pumpkins and so many more of the foods we love, as well as the flowers in our gardens and countryside.
“Urgent action is needed now, or we stand to lose the food and plants that are such an intrinsic part of the British way of life.”
According to a recent Greenpeace report a third of UK bees have disappeared in the last ten years and a quarter of European species are at risk of extinction.To help support this pollinator patch drive, Arla is giving away 100,000 seed packs to create their very own pit stops.
As the network grows, this will help to provide more of the habitats needed to produce the fruits, vegetables and flowers that are staples of the British diet, gardens, and countryside.