At the end of May, my family spent a Sunday afternoon preparing and planting a patch of our Saint Paul, Minnesota yard with wildflower seeds as a part of the PolliNation™ project. My family’s packet of seeds was one of 30,000 that made it into the hands of Land O’Lakes, Inc. employees, families, friends and neighbors.
Together, we are literally coloring in the landscape with colorful habitat to feed the bees and butterflies who make 1 of every 3 bites of food we eat possible. Our efforts align with the national strategy to improve pollinator health which places restoring habitat as a key priority.
The PolliNation™ project, has resulted in some great stories and photos of new habitat and neighborly moments. People have shared land, laughs and some light labor. So far, through a grassroots effort, we’ve planted more than 125 gardens across the country and formally registered gardens with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
From Missouri’s Route MM co-op partner sites throughout Nebraska, to our dairy plant in Turlock, California, to our Purina feed plant in Lansing, Michigan and locations beyond and in between, new pollinator-friendly habitat is taking root.
Coloring with pencils and crayons
This week, at my house, we’re turning in our trowels and hand rakes and picking up our colored pencils and crayons to take part in the coloration of PolliNation™. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but coloring is kind of a thing right now. You can join the effort, too.
Visit the PolliNation™ project website, download one of three bee-utiful coloring sheets and get coloring. Share a photo of your finished creation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter from August 14, 2016 to September 9, 2016 using the hashtag #PolliNation and tag Land O’Lakes, Inc. and for each share, we’ll plant a flower, up to 10,000 flowers!
If you are in the neighborhood, buzz down to the Mill City Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Aug. 20. It’s World Honey Bee Day and we’ll be celebrating by sharing seeds and coloring sheets live at the market.
Watch in early September for a collage of the best coloring efforts, along with an update on the progress of the PolliNation™ project at the end of this growing season.
Patience makes PolliNation
One of the biggest lessons at my house this year is that creating pollinator-friendly habitat takes time. According to some experts, it could take 1-3 years for my little garden of natural wildflowers to mature. We planted the seeds, and to be frank, it looks a little wild and weedy—with only a few colorful blooms for the bees that have very successfully found my new garden.
I’m in good company. Land O’Lakes’ farmer owners understand the long view—that good things take time and last. They’ve developed this perspective over generations on their farms and for their families’ livelihoods. It’s a view their cooperative also shares. The business has grown up over time to meet member needs that today include a unique end-to-end continuum—from the farm field, to animal feed to family table. We come together every day—and have been for 95 years—to feed human progress. It’s something we share with the bees and butterflies that begin our food chain. And, working cooperatively, we are doing our small part to help them get back on track.
The message for my three-year-old this growing season is patience makes PolliNation (and whole lot of other things). In the meantime, during these dog days of summer, we have a little instant gratification with a coloring page, some crayons and the task—and its reward—at hand.