Nothing against birds, but bats and bees -- key cogs in our food pollination wheel, among other things -- have had it rough the past few years with white nose syndrome and Colony Collapse Disorder. On the positive side, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that the cause of white nose syndrome in the U.S. has finally been pinpointed (a key step in preventative research) and Colony Collapse Disorder awareness continues to grow through groups like L.A.'s Backwards Beekeepers.
Here are a few of our favorite tasty ways to support the bats and bees, starting with a really good cup of coffee.
Buy Katz's Bat City Blend Coffee
4. A portion of proceeds from Katz Coffee's organic, fair trade Bat City Blend goes to Austin's Bat Conservation International. How does it taste? Let's just say we make a detour to pick up a pound or two of this dark roast every time we're in the Lone Star State, but you can also order it online with the same bat benefits.
Fertilize Your Garden With Bat Guano
3. Bat guano has long been used as an organic fertilizer. And when there's potential economic gain from a natural resource, preservation funding "magically" appears (ex: bison). Look for quality bat guano producers like Root Organics out of Oregon that maintain bat-friendly practices, meaning the wild bats are not disturbed.
Volunteer For The Backwards Beekeepers
2. It wasn't all that long ago, thanks to your crazy neighbor swearing those honey bees were plotting a terror attack, that a beehive appearance meant certain death. Saving backyard bees is much easier these days with groups like the Backwards Beekeepers who even have a bee hotline for last-minute evictions in the L.A. area. You can also volunteer to become a beehive rescue trainee or help on the political side with the group's efforts to legalize backyard beekeeping in L.A.
Buy Wild Local Honey
1. Buying local honey has several meanings in today's global world, where bulk blends (usually labeled clover and wildflower honeys) and farmed honeys (those in which a queen bee is "planted" in a hive) are the norm. True wild honeys, like Kirk's Local Honey that is (according to the website) harvested from wild bees "living and working in Los Angeles area neighborhoods," are harder to find. Now we're wondering if local honeys also take on the flavor equivalent of neighborhood fashion stereotypes.