According to the AJC, the city of Decatur is now an official safe haven for bees, which was announced during National Pollinator Week (June 20-26) – designated as a time to celebrate pollinators and spread awareness on how we can all help to protect them from declining populations, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.
On Monday this week, city officials voted to adopt a resolution that designates Decatur as a “Bee City“, the first official bee city in the state of Georgia. As part of this designation, the city agrees to celebrate National Pollinator Week, host educational events, and plant & restore sustainable bee habitats. Decatur will also install a Bee City USA street sign in a prominent location, in recognition of the city’s effort and participation.
This initiative is part of the city’s larger plan to support urban gardening, according to Mayor Patti Garrett. “Bees are of critical importance to gardens,” Garrett said.
According to Bee City USA, being a Bee City is a way for city leaders to improve their communities’ environment, eating habits, and overall economy by:
- Helping to ensure the survival of vital animal species crucial to our planet’s complex food web
- Raising community awareness of how our food grows and improve local food production through expanded pollination. More than 150 food crops in the United States depend on pollinators, including blueberries, apples, squash, strawberries and almonds.
- Improving local plant nursery markets by increasing demand for native, pollinator friendly plants
- Raising community awareness of the dangers of non-native invasive plants to the local ecosystem
- Raising community awareness of the least toxic ways to deal with home and garden pest problems
- Raising community awareness of the local environment’s seasonality as understanding grows about the pollinators’ reliance on blooming plants and trees
- Encouraging urban beekeeping, increasing micro and small business opportunities. Newly discovered pride in local food products, such as artisanal honey and other honey bee products, creates new business opportunities. Honey is absolutely unique to the nearby flowers from which the bees gather nectar. Its taste and color vary dramatically as a result. Furthermore, as the community of beekeepers grows, the market for beekeeping supplies grows.