Submitted by Barbara Thrasher

During North American Bee Pollination week the 180 Laird gardening students were fascinated when Layne Kushniruk and her sister Tara of Kind Bee Farms in Saskatchewan donated leafcutter bee houses and hatching bees (a non-stinging tiny bee) to their community garden at Mt. Nelson and the greenhouse. 

The students (and adults) gasped to learn that there are more than 200,000 known varieties of bees in the world. Layne shared the critical importance pollinators play in ensuring plants turn into fruit and vegetables and the role Kind Bees plays to provide more bees back to the world. The students became proud parents as they watched and listened to the tiny bees hatch, noting the green-eyed males and the brown-eyed females, and did the math to determine how many bees would be born out of this one little box. 

 The students also took time to adapt an orphan bed in the garden and used their Grow for Good shirts to remind us that gardening plays a critical role in food sustainability and climate change. The Groundswell, Home Hardware, and J A Laird school program is proud to have been selected as one of five Grow for Good grants awarded nationally. It included $2,500 cash for the Laird program plus organic gardening products from Scotts Canada, and resources and teaching tools from Nutrients for Life and Plant Grow Share a Row.

The program is administered by Communities in Bloom Canada.

 Katrina Chapman, executive director of the Food Bank accepted the students’ first harvest of produce (weighed and recorded). Al Miller, who is the backbone of the program, shored up the new bee house installation and celebrated the students’ excellent results with a watermelon feast.