MUSC: Urban Farm

Earlier this year in an attempt to prevent the Zika virus from having a strong foothold in South Carolina, a county in South Carolina sprayed pesticide. This resulted in the massacre of millions of honeybees. One of the bee farms affected by this massacre was a farm in Summerville, South Carolina. In this farm, a total of 46 hives were destroyed, and 2.5 million bees were murdered. Last month my sorority sisters and I volunteered at MUSC: Urban Farms. While on the farm, I got the opportunity to learn about the huge impact bee have not only on our agriculture, but our society as well. Honeybees are considered nature’s best pollinators. They are responsible for pollinating some of South Carolina’s best crops such as, almonds, blueberries, apples, asparagus, and broccoli. With recent mass decline of honeybees, it is projected that South Carolina will experience a drop in fresh agriculture production in those products. Also while volunteering at the Urban Farm, I learned why bee preservation is so important for our environment. Honeybees are responsible for the estimated cross-pollination of 30% of the world’s food crops and 90% of wild plant growth. While at MUSC Urban Farms they also spoke to us about the recent disappearance of honeybees before the pesticide spraying. They mention that in 2006 the bee population started to decline due to different disturbances in their environment. Those disturbance include, honeybees losing their food sources due to the cultivation of land, honeybees not being able to fight diseases and poisons well due to their genes, and the impact of global warming causing flowers to bloom earlier or later in the season, which doesn’t coincide with the bees coming out of hibernation. Volunteering at MUSC Urban Farm gave me the opportunity to do my part to help the honey bee community. While volunteering I helped build honey bee pollinators out of bamboo and twine for the local honey bees on the farm since the bee population is now declining. Thanks to the donation of a beehive from The Bee Cause Project, the Urban Farm at MUSC is able to continue their mission of building a healthier community and inspiring people in the community to eat local, nutritious and delicious foods. With the new hives, MUSC hope to change people’s perspective of bees as helpful creature which are needed to help pollinate most fruits and vegetables instead of the negative perception bees received as being terrorizer that can sting you. MUSC Urban Farm hopes that with forming this new perception of honeybees, people will think twice before choosing to spray pesticides. After volunteering with MUSC Urban Farm not only has my perception for honeybees change, but I also have the desire to support more locally grown fruits and vegetables vendors.Overall I had a great time volunteering at MUSC: Urban Farm, and I hope to continue to volunteer at MUSC Urban Farm and learn more about what I can do to help the declining bee population and influence more people to eat locally grown organic vegetables and produce.

6 thoughts on “MUSC: Urban Farm

  1. I am glad that more people are getting involved in helping to save the bees. Our society is really good at taking extreme measures to protect ourselves yet we fail at recognizing the negative consequences of our actions. The Zika Virus is no longer an international threat, yet countless bees were killed due to our negligent spraying. Bees are crucial to our ecosystem and we will suffer from great consequences if we keep ignoring this issue. I’m glad that our city has taken the initiative to start educating the public on the importance of bees. Hopefully more people will start getting involved even by just making small changes in their everyday lives. I think this is a really good cause and this is something I would definitely like to get involved with as well.

  2. That is so devastating to hear about the bees. I’m glad you got to experience this and hopefully more people will also grow an appreciation for our honeybees. I love volunteering at MUSC Urban Farm and their hive is pretty sweet!

  3. The effects of widespread pesticide use are greatly underestimated in my opinion. As you mentioned, they wiped out millions of honey bees here in South Carolina, which could potentially impact human health and agriculture. I feel like we don’t always think about their use as much as we should. For example, even though mosquitos carry Zika, wiping out mosquitos may impact other food chains and harm biodiversity and the local ecosystem. Also, there are other preventative measures that could be taken to prevent Zika other than wiping out masses of insects. For example people could use bug spray, wear clothes that cover exposed skin, and avoid being outdoors at times in which mosquitos are more prevalent. It seems that we often take the easy way out and instead just use chemicals. I think its awesome that the MUSC urban farm is taking steps to help the honey bee population and I hope more projects are started in the area to ensure their wellbeing.

  4. I remember hearing about the significant loss of honey bees, but never knew that we lost 2.5 million honeybees to the pesticides they sprayed which is very shocking and upsetting. Spraying pesticides on our food has been occurring for many, many years, and reminds me of when we discussed Rachel Carson in class and when she wrote the book Silent Spring, this makes me think about the time then when they used the harmful DDT pesticide spray that not only killed insects but a variety of other animals as well. I definitely agree with you, people do need to take honeybees into consideration and understand that they are a major source for us when it comes to pollination and growing our agriculture. And while organic fruits and vegetables can be rather expensive, i still think that we should buy locally grown produce to insure that we are not purchasing the goods that are from other countries that have been sprayed by pesticides.

  5. I has an opportunity to go to MUSC’s urban farm and it was so cool! I am really glad that you brought up the bee’s though because I know a lot of people that have been affected by this recent event and I have seen what it can do to an entire colony of bees. Bee’s are so important to our environment and I it is critical that we do something to protect them!

  6. It sounds like this experience was an invaluable one to you and your sorority sisters, Kirsten! Thanks for writing about it, and connecting it to the tragedy of the Zika virus spraying earlier this year.

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