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By Jacey Conway, Federation of Calgary Communities

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market showed its support for micro farmers through an event celebrating all things bees this summer!
Bert Blouin and Heather Ramshaw try out some bee keeping equipment.

The “Pollinator Party” provided an opportunity for new and regular vendors of the market to share the impact bees have had on their businesses.

“As a local food market, all of our produce depends on pollinators,” explains Market Manager, Heather Ramshaw.

Micro farmers refer to anyone or anything that produces farming or agricultural benefits on a small-scale level. Because bees in urban environments pollinate the green spaces, they are also referred to as micro farmers.

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market partnered with local organizations and encouraged their weekly market vendors to participate in the initiative.

Some of the vendors who participated included ACALA Native Plants, Plant Shop YYC, Buzzy Bee Honey, and Tamarack Jacks Meadery. All vendors provided fun and educational activities relating to bees to engage visitors to the market.

Bert and Carole Blouin of Buzzy Bee Honey stand with an active beehive.

“This is an opportunity to engage with our community and to teach the importance of bees in our world,” says Ramshaw.

One of the vendors, Buzzy Bee Honey, boasted an active beehive, several native bee species, beekeeping equipment, and informational boards explaining all aspects of beekeeping. Market visitors loved the display and many were able to stop by and learn more about bees and what they can do to help the little pollinators.

Young children who were at the market were also able to make bee baths—also known as bee water feeders—to take home and place in their backyard or garden.

“Bee baths allow the bees to flourish in an urban environment,” explains Ramshaw.

The kids, while assembling their bee baths, learned how important it is to help bees in small ways, such as providing bee baths to give them a resting spot.

Market vendor Pat Fedkenheuer, with ACALA Native Plants, had a plant station for any young ones who would like to pick out a plant to bring home and replant.

Fedkenheuer gives out native plants to the kids at the market to take home and plant.

The plants were carefully arranged and chosen by Fedkenheuer, each one native to the Calgary region and able to do well in the colder environment.

“This way they can support pollinators from home,” explains Fedkenheuer.

The event gave vendors and market visitors the opportunity to learn about the importance of bees in the community and environment, all while engaging with their community.

The Pollinator Party was a huge hit for the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market and they’re already ‘buzzing’ with plans for next years event.

“Support your micro farmers – they do so much for us,” says Ramshaw.