The Bee Biodiversity Initiative, headquartered at Auburn University, is teaming up with the school’s dining team to recreate a true and local farm-to-table lifestyle. Bashira Chowdhury, a pollination ecologist with the Bee Biodiversity Initiative, said the project has gone beyond bees and more into human land use, which inspired the initiative’s partnership with the Auburn dining team.
“When it comes to pollination, it basically comes down to what we eat,” Chowdhury said. Humans have shifted their diet from one that supports pollinators to one that does not. In other words, humans went from eating natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to eating more meats and processed foods. Furthermore, humans are also consuming more self-pollinating foods such as wheat, soy beans and corn. Chowdhury has been working to encourage people to shift their diet back to the way it was, but she understands the difficulty to convince people to change their diet.
Alabama has an incredibly rich agricultural biodiversity. In the past, people would take advantage of that. Although times have changed, Alabama’s biodiversity has not changed so much. “(Through this project), we’re trying to cultivate a biocultural connection to the land that would support pollinators and support us,” Chowdhury says.
Since all of Alabama’s native crops are pollinated by bees, Chowdhury is hoping the initiative can persuade people to start consuming locally grown food, starting with the younger generation. The hope is that this project could change how people view the land, and it might persuade people to buy locally grown foods. “It’s a different way of preserving pollinators by shifting the focus more towards the land, because that’s what it comes down to,” Chowdhury explains.
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