Minneapolis marks National Pollinator Week

The city of Minneapolis marked National Pollinator Week June 19 through 25 with several events showcasing efforts to protect pollinators.

The city and local businesses hosted plantings, tours, plant sales and a picnic during the weeklong event, which aimed to highlight resources available to protect bees and butterflies.

Wells Fargo presented the Minneapolis Health Department with an $80,000 check during the week, which the department will use to install about 150 raised flower beds. The department will install pollinator friendly plants in those beds, said Environmental Health Inspector Tiana Cervantes.

Northeast-based 56 Brewing also participated in the week, planting 10 pollinator patches at their brewery in the Marshall Terrace neighborhood. The company also used honey from Seward-based Beez Kneez for a speciality beer.

“It’s really part of our core values at our company,” said President and Master Brewer Kale Johnson. “Connecting with the city and local pollinator plants was just something that made total sense with who we are.”

56 Brewing also uses local honey in its Northeast Nectar beer, Johnson said. It uses homegrown items such as lavender or mint for other beers and also grows its own hops along the south side of its building.

Surly Brewing Company also participated in National Pollinator Week, with volunteers planting trees to provide forage for bee populations. Other events included a presentation on the relationship between flora and health care at the Bakken Museum, a tour of the Beez Kneez honey house, a wildflower sale, a rose show and a bike ride for bees.

Pollinators keep plant communities healthy and produce more than $20 billion worth of products in the U.S. annually, according to the city’s Environmental Services unit. One-third of food and drink produced in the U.S. depends on pollinators, which are threatened by loss and fragmentation of habitat, disease, parasites and pesticides.

The City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges passed a resolution in 2015 declaring Minneapolis a pollinator friendly community and encouraging residents and businesses to adopt pollinator friendly practices. The Environmental Services unit created a website on how to create pollinator habitat as part of the resolution.

Residents can receive half a flat of native pollinator friendly plants by taking a survey on the website. Visit minneapolismn.gov/environment/bees to learn more.