Monday 24 April 2017

Food news: the buzz about bees

One third of Ireland's 98 bee species are under threat
One third of Ireland's 98 bee species are under threat
Bean and Goose white chocolate hare
Donnybrook Fair fishmonger Eimantas Zvirblis

Katy McGuinness

Pollinators, especially bees, are essential to Ireland's biodiversity. Irish pollinators are in decline, with one third of Ireland's 98 bee species currently threatened by extinction.

The annual value of pollinators for human food crops is estimated to be at least €53m. The National Biodiversity Centre and Bord Bia have come together to produce a Pollinator Plan to protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their services.

Businesses can sign up to the plan, which recommends 18 pollinator-friendly actions - practical actions that any business can take in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Some of these include protecting areas that are providing food and shelter for pollinators, mowing lawns using a pollinator-friendly regimen, installing a bee or insect 'hotel', planting pollinator-friendly bulbs, trees, shrubs and flower beds, and reducing the use of pesticides.

"Without pollinators it would be impossible for farmers or gardeners to affordably produce many of the fruits and vegetables we need for a healthy diet," says Dr Jane Shout, deputy chair of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan Steering Group. "Pollinators are also necessary for a healthy environment and landscape. Without them, the 78pc of wild plants in Ireland that require insect pollination would disappear. The overall strategy, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, makes Ireland one of the first countries in Europe with an approach to address this problem."

Jim O'Toole, Bord Bia's director of sustainable development says: "Bord Bia has worked closely with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to support the implementation of the Pollinator Plan through Origin Green, its national sustainability programme for the agri-food industry. Together with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, we are asking businesses, regardless of their sector or size or land holdings, to play an active role in helping pollinators."

Businesses deciding to sign up to the Pollinator Plan will be supported in developing plans to take pollinator-friendly actions, and will be able to log their efforts on a publicly-available mapping system, 'Actions for Pollinators'. Visit biodiversityireland.ie/pollinator-plan

Bites...

GALWAY GOURMANDS

Jess Murphy's Kai Cookbook Club and Sheena Dignam's Galway Food Tours have teamed up to offer a great Christmas present: one Cookbook Evening and one Food Tour for €75. Jess will cook from her favourite cookbooks including The Palomar and Simple, by Diana Henry. kairestaurant.com

YOUNG FISHMONGERS

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At the inaugural BIM National Seafood Awards announced last week, Stephen Hurley from The Fish Shop, Union Hall, Co Cork and Eimantas Zvirblis (pictured) from Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, Co Dublin, were named the Young Fishmongers of the year in the Independent and Supermarket Counter categories.

SEASONAL SWEETS

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Wexford chocolatiers Bean & Goose have White Chocolate and Cinnamon Snow Hares (€15.50) and Winter's Bark sharing-slabs of dark chocolate from Madagascar with Winter's Spices, Hazelnuts and Almonds, with Cranberries and Candied Orange Peel (€29.50). Available from the Makers & Brothers pop-up store on Dawson Street, Dublin 2 until December 24.

Irish Independent

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