2,300 UK farmers unite to support biodiversity and help protect the future of British food
Dairy farmers call on nation to support pollinators by giving a corner of their gardens to help bees get their buzz back.
Dairy cooperative Arla’s farmers give away 100,000 seed packs to help Britain build a nation-wide network of pollinator pit stops for bees.
The UK faces a biodiversity crisis due to a dwindling population of vital pollinators. Without urgent action now to help our pollinators we stand to lose much-loved foods such as British fruits. Custodians of the British countryside, the farmers that own Arla, have been working to combat this for several years across their 2,300 farms. Today, they join forces with Buglife, one of the UK’s leading protectors and supporters of pollinators, to launch a national rallying call for the Great British public to give a corner of their back gardens, back yards, balconies, hanging baskets, window boxes or plant pots to help save our pollinators. They are calling on the nation to join them build the BEE ROAD, a nationwide network of pollinator pit stops filled with bee-friendly flowers.
Around a third of the food we eat every day relies on pollinators such as bees, butterflies and bugs. These pollinators need more patches, across the country, that are planted with the flowers they love and are close enough together to enable them to stop and refuel, as they move around the country. The network is critical to help bees transfer pollen around the nation to effectively pollinate plants and produce the foods we love. Arla’s farmers have been working to support biodiversity for several years by cultivating pollinator patches on their farms. Their pit stops form the framework for the road, which now needs bolstering to provide more patches for pollinators. Arla and Buglife are now calling on the public and businesses to help them fill the gaps in the network by adding pit stops in gardens, plant pots, window boxes, balconies and hanging baskets across the nation.
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. 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. Arla farm ‘pollinator pit stops’ already form the skeleton of what we call the BEE ROAD, but the bees need more and so we need the Great British public and businesses to join us and fill in the gaps, ensuring our treasured pollinators are never far from a pit stop.
“It’s a simple idea that promises to give everyone a bit of a buzz. Not to mention giving the bees and bugs somewhere safe to rest and refuel as they help to produce the food we love.”
Alice Swift, director of agriculture at Arla, comments: “We’re incredibly proud to be working towards so many of our sustainability goals with our 2,300 farmers, who are committed to driving positive environmental change. The BEE ROAD is an ambitious programme, led by our farmer owners to help grow and drastically improve pollinator habitats. But our farmers can’t do it on their own, so we really need people up and down the country to get involved, help us create a hive of activity across the nation and help us make a real difference to the future of our food.”
Paul Hetherington, Director at Buglife, adds, “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. Arla’s Bee Road initiative is a simple yet effective way of making a real difference and something we fully support.”
Sophie Throup, Agriculture Manager at Morrison’s, who are supporting the initiative, said: "Looking after our farmed and natural environment is important for us and our customers. Our bees play a vital role in pollinating our crops and we want to work with our farmers to look after them. We're excited to be a part of the BEE ROAD, and as well as working with our farmers, we'll work closely with our local communities to ensure we can help plant as many 'pollinator pit stops' as we can."
To give the British public a helping hand this summer, Arla is giving away 100,000 seed packs to create their very own pit stops. As the network grows with the call for people to join the BEE ROAD, 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 beloved countryside. So whether it’s a plot in the garden or a simple window box, every flower planted will go some way to giving the bees their buzz back.
The initiative is an opportunity for everyone to bee a part of the solution and help save our biodiversity and the foods we love. There are lots of ways that people can get involved and join the Arla BEE ROAD:
- The initiative is an opportunity for everyone to bee a part of the solution and help save our biodiversity and the foods we love. There are lots of ways that people can get involved and join the Arla BEE ROAD:
- The first 5,000 people to visit the Arla website can request a free pack of specially mixed seeds to plant in the garden or in window boxes, alongside fun items to make sure kids can get involved and learn about biodiversity too! The packs include bee friendly flower seeds, ‘Bees Stop Here’ posters and how-to guides to get them on their way to creating their own pollinator pit stops. A further 5,000 seed packs will be available for consumers once the initial exclusive 5,000 pollinator packs have all been claimed.
- Short video tutorials showing you how to turn a corner of your garden, balcony, or window box into a bee-friendly pit stop – with plants or by upcycling a milk carton to create a bee and bug hotel. Visit the Arla website or the Big Milk, Cravendale or BOB social media pages to find out more!
- Spread the word about the BEE ROAD across your social media networks… and with your neighbours using the hashtag #ArlaBeeRoad
- Get your business, community centre or school involved - put a pit stop in window boxes, playgrounds, on the roof and become part of the BEE ROAD!
To find out more about the BEE ROAD, how Arla farmers around the country are inspiring others and to claim seed packs, visit the Arla website www.arlafoods.co.uk/thebeeroad.
Arla is giving away over 100,000 seeds as part of its Bee Road initiative through multiple channels – 10,000 packs will be available via the Arla Foods website. Subject to availability.