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Deals Feel Good News

Häagen-Dazs’ Free Cone Day Is Back And Still Helping To Save Bees

For over a decade now you’ve been enjoying free ice cream from Häagen Dazs, but we bet you never took the time to actually learn why this blessed day comes around once a year.

It’s crazy to think that those little flying demons that we are told to stay still around are actually responsible for nearly every delicious flavor we put into our mouths.

Bees, through an incredible amount of pollination, are the sole suppliers of over 70 percent of the crops that humans rely on. Foodbeast did a write-up on what your food would look like if bees went extinct, maybe checking this out will help push you to donate instead of gorge on free ice cream all day.

And Häagen Dazs has been thanking them for 10 years as a part of their “Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees Initiative” with Free Cone Day being focused directly on thanking and supporting the bees.

While there’s no feasible way to physically thank said bees, supporting the effort in preventing their extinction is definitely the better alternative.

And what better way to support a cause than by getting free ice cream? There’s no other way and it is amazing.

On May 8th, between 4 – 8pm Häagen Dazs is coming back again with their annual Free Cone Day. Pop into a local shop and receive one free scoop of ice cream or sorbet in a cup, sugar cone or cake cone between specified hours. 

The purpose of this day is to recognize the bees and their gift of pollination, without which we wouldn’t have delectable flavors like Rocky Road, mango, or even strawberry.

The fact that you’re getting a free cone might push you to actually thank the bees in a viable way, because face it, most people don’t care about anything else if free ice cream is offered.

Think of it like this, you would have paid for the ice cream at some point anyway, this way you can use whatever you thought you would have had to pay and donate it here, to help fund research in preventing the decimation of bees.

One day you might not be able to get that delicious strawberry cone again and you’ll wish you spent even a fiver helping fight for bees.

For more information on bees, here’s a great article Foodbeast did on bees and their importance in the world.

Who: Häagen-Dazs

What: Free scoop of ice cream or sorbet in a cup, sugar cone or cake cone

When: May 8th from 4pm-8pm

Where: Participating Locations

Why: TO HELP THE DAMN BEES 

 

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/haagendazs_us/
Categories
Animals Features FOODBEAST News Now Trending

Losing Our Buzz: How The Declining Bee Population Affects Our Food Supply

The next time you see a honey bee fly a little too close for comfort, you may want to think twice about swatting it away so carelessly. If you weren’t already aware of how vital bees are for our food supply and ecosystem, you might be in for quite a surprise.

I can understand how difficult it is to notice the little things when we constantly get carried away with the big picture… or our phones. This is true for both life and our food supply. Living in the 21st century, we tend to brush past the fact that a lot of our food comes from farms, not packages in our grocery stores or our local fast food favorites. We may not realize it, but the necessity of bees as little pollinators in our crops accounts for over 30% of the food and beverages we consume. As bee populations continue to dwindle dangerously, our food supply is sure to suffer more than we can imagine. Many core ingredients in the food we cook and eat often rely on bees to pollinate them in order to yield seeds.

Photo by Gani Pinero Photography LLC/Häagen-Dazs

Impact of Bees on Our Food Supply

To put it simply, when bees cross-pollinate plants, they transfer pollen from one plant to another, leading to the fertilization and production of fruits and seeds (you know… plant sex). As the primary pollinators in our ecology, bees (along with butterflies) play an integral role in our food production. A study done by the Natural Academy of Sciences has estimated that almost 75% of our planet’s seed and flower producing plants rely on pollinators to some degree.

So, if pollinators continue to disappear, the health of our crops can drastically weaken, leading to a smaller yield. With a lower supply and a high demand, prices for your favorite fruits and other foods could skyrocket in the near future.

Photo by Gani Pinero Photography LLC/Häagen-Dazs

Let me hit you with a few examples: If we don’t have bees, there would be no watermelons at your summer barbeque. If we don’t have bees, there would be no pumpkin in your basic ass pumpkin spice lattes. If we don’t have bees, there would be no cucumbers for you to take to your screening of 50 Shades Darker!

There are a number of origins that have lead up to our pollinator deficit, but outdated and improper farming techniques have been a main cause . According to the Xerces Society, the non-profit organization leading the advocacy for conserving pollinators, a quarter of bee species in the United States are in danger of extinction, so that only gives you some inclination of what could happen if we continue to neglect our buzz-worthy friends. Xerces Society’s pollination conservation director, Eric Mader, continued on to say how a lot of farms have had to ship bees from other parts of the country due to the diminishing presence of native bees.

Photo by Gani Pinero Photography LLC/Häagen-Dazs

Ongoing Contribution Efforts

Because this is such an important issue concerning our food supply, companies like Haagen-Dazs are taking the proper conservative initiatives to protect and sustain our pollinators. In 2008, they launched their “Haagen-Dazs Loves Bees” program, providing research and educational funding for pollinator leadership. They’ve installed one of the largest, privately funded pollinator habitats on their almond supplier’s farm in California’s Central Valley, which consists of 6.5 miles of hedgerows within 840 acres of farmland.

Photo by Gani Pinero Photography LLC/Häagen-Dazs

Even Cheerios has since joined the fray with their #BringBackTheBees program, removing their mascot, Buzz, from their cereal boxes; insinuating the lack of bees in our environment, and aiming to plant 3,300 acres of pollinator habitat by the year 2020.

If we want things to change, it all starts at home. There are ‘plant-y’ of sustainable agricultural initiatives we can start in our personal gardens (however big or small). Xerces has stated that there are four principles that we can enact to help.

Photo by Gani Pinero Photography LLC/Häagen-Dazs

Create a diversity of bloom― If possible, provide a few different species of flowering plants that bees can collect nectar and pollen from.

Protect nests and egg-laying sites― Bees use the unkept areas of the garden to nest. Also consider leaving hives alone, or call proper authorities to relocate them safely.

Don’t use pesticide― Most of your garden pest problems can be solved without using harmful chemicals. Find other alternatives that do not harm pollinators directly.

Advocacy― Tell your neighbors, family, friends about how they can do their part to help conserve our pollinators. You never know the power of your words until you use them.

The bee population is dwindling faster than we could have ever imagined; we may not necessarily be seeing its negative effects right now, but it is a bigger issue than we can comprehend. We’ve got to play a proactive role continuing to create sustainable agricultural solutions, not just for our pollinators, but ultimately for ourselves.

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Sweets Video

Watch How Honey Is Made

Honey is such a versatile ingredient. We throw it in our tea, we use it in baking, we even throw it on our desserts. The nectar that comes from bees is one of the most iconic foods around, dating back millennia to early humans foraging for the sweet natural substance.

We found ourselves drawn to another Discovery/Science Channel segment on the captivating process on manufacturing honey in bulk.

The video takes us through the journey of honey from bees drawing nectar from flowers and honeycomb creation. Beekeepers maintain their bees until the honeycombs are filled and ready to be removed. They’re then taken into the factory and scrapped and spun until the honey is separated from the honey combs.

Some factories even package honeycombs as is for consumers to eat.

Check out the video to see the fascinating process behind honey. The next time you douse your oven-fresh biscuit in the golden manna, take a minute to appreciate where it came from. Then, you have our permission to bite.

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Health News

This is What Your Meals Would Look Like If Bees Went Extinct [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Photo: Fairmont

Bees are one of the most important — and conversely, most hated — creatures on the planet. Infamous for their sting, but famous for how they pollinate basically everything and allow tons of food to be grown. While bees are a vital part of our food system, we’ve been busy killing tons of them off with bee traps, pesticides, and climate change.

This has led to bees being added to the list of U.S. endangered species this past year for the first time. Clearly this is a great cause for concern about it, climate change, the environment, and how it will affect the global supply of food for years to come. While the EPA won’t be able to help for the time being, Fairmont Hotels is doing its part to spread the word on how important bees are to our culture.

The team at Fairmont created a beautiful and powerful infographic that displays what our food would look like if bees went extinct and were unable to pollinate. Tons of fruits and produce would be lost, and the picture of our meals turns into a truly sad state.

Take a look and experiment with the infographic for yourselves to learn a ton more. Hopefully, you learn a great deal about bees and their importance to how we love to eat our food. Even Foodbeasts can appreciate the necessity of many of these foods.

Let’s hope that we can all come together and prevent bees from going extinct — and our meals from becoming dismal.

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Tastemade/Snapchat

6 Facts About GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have become something of a dirty word in nutritional fields lately, especially with raw and paleo diets preaching a gospel of organic living. While the area of study is relatively recent, there are somethings that are already clear about GMOs—and it’s about more that just what’s going into your body. These spliced crops and livestock have far-reaching impacts on the environmental, personal, and legal well-being of our entire country.

The Genetic Modification Boogie Man

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It’s worth noting that most all food intended for human consumption has been genetically modified at one point or another. This started thousands of years ago with the domestication of crops (wheat and corn) as well as animals (cows and pigs). Through selective breeding/pollination, we’ve been able to create cows that are better at producing milk and apples that don’t taste like a mouthful of garbage disposal scraps.

Most people seem to draw a line when scientists move away from selective pollination into a more scientific procedures like gene splicing. For the purposes of this article, we’re only discussing the side effects of gene spliced GMOs, which have become increasingly more prevalent and appear in 80 percent of our foods.

Poisoned Apples

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In an effort to make GMOs more resilient to weeds and insects, scientists have attempted to engineer plants that can withstand herbicides and pesticides. Essentially, we can use stronger poisons to kill off weeds and insects which should in theory produce bigger harvests. There are two main problems with this in practice:

1) As we spray our plants with more deadly poisons, we are introducing more poisonous foods to the population. Obviously, some of this is absorbed through the plant’s skins, but it also gets into the soil, which could affect the flesh of the plants and the groundwater.

2) Insidious plants and animals are counter-evolving. Just like Jurassic Park, nature finds a way and a sequel: using stronger pesticides kills the weaker members of the species, leaving only the strongest to reproduce. This creates superweeds and superbugs that are also immune to the pesticides, meaning we have to use stronger chemicals, starting the cycle over.

They Mess With Bees!

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As a subsection of the latter point, the insecticides used on GMOs don’t just affect the undesirable insects eating plants, they also kill the insects that are necessary for the plants survival. You see, unlike you and I, plants don’t have a means of passing their genetic material to each other (i.e. sex). Enter honey bees: nature’s answer to Marvin Gaye. Bees gather nectar from flowering plants, picking up pollen in the process, which they then carry to other plants. This mixes up the genes in the plant world and effectively turns flowers in fruits, which is what makes nature tick. And science still hasn’t found a good alternative for pollination, meaning that the end of bees is essentially the end of agriculture. Dun, dun, DUN!

Dubious Nutrition

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While the increase in GMO foodstuffs has been linked to everything from increased diagnoses of autism to brain cancer, most of the science supporting this has been made on a tenuous basis. Specifically, we can see the correlation, but can’t prove the causality. Also of note, GMO-interest groups have a vested interest in convincing you that their products don’t increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and reproductive disorders. In addition to their well documented lobbying efforts, companies like Monsanto and Pepsico can also launch their own scientific studies, stacking the deck in their favor. They’re co-opting science, ferchrissakes!

Label Suppression

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Photo Credit: Alexis Baden-Mayer

Have you ever wondered why organic foods receive a special label and genetically modified foods don’t? Well, it turns out that a lot of the people producing and using GMOs don’t really want to be associated with terms “GMO” because of the unnatural, mad-scientist-y vibe it gives off. Lobbying groups acting on behalf of GMO and processed foods have even blocked measures from states like California, Colorado and Vermont to require labeling of all GMO foods. But for the time being, organic foods are the ones that have to make the distinction on their label, which is — like a genetically modified donkey — ass backwards.

Farmer Sovereignty

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Farmer sovereignty is a fancy way of saying that a farmer can decide what crops to grow on his or her own farm. How do GMOs impact that independence, you might ask? Large seed sellers like Monsanto own patents on their genetically modified seeds, meaning that you have to buy the seeds from them to grow their plants. If these patented organisms from a GMO farm drift into a non-GMO farm, the company holding the seed patent is allowed to sue the unauthorized grower. This is awful because this drift will occur naturally from honey bee or wind pollination. In case you aren’t aware, farming isn’t exactly a money-making enterprise, making large seed suppliers like something of a reverse Robin Hood—stealing from the poor to overfeed the rich.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Eye-Opening Picture of a Supermarket in a World Without Bees

A Whole Foods Market in Providence, RI, temporarily removed “all produce that comes from plants dependent on pollinators.” When all was said and done, 52 percent of the produce department was scarily empty.

The stunt was meant to raise awareness about the dwindling bee population…a year and a half ago.

Images from this event have recently started gaining virality due to the creation of a slider GIF. Nothing says WTFOMG, like juxtaposition.

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In a world without bees, you can’t enjoy apple pies or our kale overlords, so go plant some flowers and stop using insecticide.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Company Designs ‘Urban Beehive’ for Your Home. What Could Go Wrong?

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Honey doesn’t get fresher than this, people. The Phillips’ Microbial Home project designed an Urban Beehive as a means to boost and encourage sustainability in modern homes. One could even collect fresh honey whenever they wanted à la Winnie the Pooh, only without getting their head stuck.

The hive was developed as a means to solve the issue of bee preservation and the decline of bee colonies. Featuring a flower pot that’s located on the opposite side of the design, the flowers and the honeycomb attract bees towards the hive allowing the bees to enter through a specifically designed passage. At the base, there’s a smoke actuator that calms the bees down so you can collect the honey.

Sounds pretty safe, right? Because absolutely nothing can go wrong with keeping live bees in your kitchen.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

This Artist Collaborates with Bees to Create Amazing Honeycomb Sculptures

Honeycomb Sculptures

Remember that bottle-shaped hive a few months back? Artist Aganetha Dyck has taken this same idea of collaborative art and produced stunningly beautiful sculptures.

Dyck’s interest in inter-species contact led her to experiment with honeybees and porcelain figures. She placed the sculptures in special apiaries and, over the course of weeks and months, they slowly showed signs of honeycomb patterns. What resulted is simply fascinating.

Honeycomb Sculptures

Honeycomb Sculptures

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Honeycomb Sculptures

If you want to check out Dyck’s bee-inspired sculptures, ‘Honeybee Alterations’ will be at the Ottawa School of Art starting March 3rd.

Picthx Aganetha Dyck