A Morrisons ‘Project Pollinator’ scheme to set aside land for bees has seen numbers increase by up to 55% year-on-year.
The programme has been introduced following growing concerns about the decline in wild bees throughout the UK, echoed in a recent UN report on potential mass extinction[i].
Initially launched with Morrisons free range egg farmers, the scheme has so far seen 57 acres of bee friendly pollen and nectar rich habitat planted across the UK. Eighty per cent of the farms supplying directly in to Morrisons Chippendale egg packing site in Yorkshire have now subscribed to the project.
Morrisons agriculture team has worked with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to formulate a unique bee-friendly flower mixture, designed to optimise bee numbers. The mixture of plants – including Phacelia, Red Clover and Sainfoin – are drilled in to five per cent of the land on each farm to establish dedicated bumblebee habitats.
The supermarket and the Trust have also trained farmers to become ‘bee walkers’ – in order to monitor and check the bee numbers on their farms. This includes farmers being taught how to spot different species of bumblebee.
As a result of ‘Project Pollinator’, Morrisons has introduced ‘bee-friendly’ eggs into over 300 stores this month. The supermarket also offers London-based customers the ability to hand-pick their own bee-friendly eggs.
Gill Perkins, CEO of Bumblebee Conservation Trust said:
“Bumblebees are amongst the most loved and familiar of insects. But sadly these charismatic creatures are struggling to survive and the loss of habit has been a primary reason for this. Morrisons work to make their farms ‘bee friendly’ – by ensuring land is set aside for habitat and providing bumblebee identification courses – has been an amazing success. It’s a brilliant initiative.”
Sophie Throup, Agriculture Manager at Morrisons said:
“Looking after our farmed and natural environment is important for us and our customers. Our bees play a vital role in pollinating our crops and we want to work with our farmers look after them. The eggs from our bee-friendly farms give our customers the chance to support our bee population and we hope to roll out this scheme to other types of farming.”
Morrisons bee conservation was recently recognised by Compassion in World Farming, where it received a Sustainable Farming Award for its bee-friendly eggs.
A 15 pack of Morrisons ‘Farmers Favourite’ mixed weight Bee Friendly Free-Range Eggs are available in 330 Morrisons stores in August costing £2. A 12 pack of Morrisons ‘Farmers Favourite’ medium Bee Friendly Free-Range Eggs are currently on promotion at £1.80 in 157 Morrisons stores and available online https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/product/Farmers-Favourite-Medium-Free-Range-Eggs/448580011?from=search¶m=farmers%20favourite .