Did you know that due to pesticide use and climate change there is a 40% decline in insect species?
Gisela Illsecas, a coffee farmer in Veracruz, Mexico, had already diversified her coffee farm with fruit trees and medicinal plants, but had taken pollination for granted. She later learned about Mexico’s native stingless bee, Melipona beecheii, an essential pollinator of tropical ecosystems. Meliponas are disappearing due to deforestation, pesticide use, and cultural erosion. Gisela and her fellow cooperative members at Campesinos en la Lucha Agraria decided to invest AgroEco® Coffee’s Agroecology funds to re-introduce eight hives of native Melipona bees into their coffee food forests. They are re-learning to care for native bees and “split” hives so that every coffee farm in their cooperative increases its native pollinator population, conserving biodiversity while providing honey for food and medicine.
Gisela shares how re-learning from a bee’s perspective led to the Bees for Life and Coffee campaign:
We are working to recreate our food system. Agro-ecological coffee farms, in addition to producing coffee, produce at least 37 different species for food and another 20 species for health. We realized that the native bees of our region are not European honey bees. We also realized that traditional knowledge was being lost because our grandparents knew about the benefits of bees and we were losing that knowledge. What we are doing now is learning how bees connect with life. Now we have a permanent campaign called Bees for Life and for Coffee. We have food because we have bees; we have health because we have bees. The bees ensure our biodiversity and our way of life.
Without bees, we lose the plants and food crops they pollinate. Support agro-ecological farmers like Gisela that nurture our planet’s biodiversity.
Stand up for native bees.
Celebrate their power.