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June 12, 2013 - One of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators. Yet, major declines in bee populations threaten the availability of many fresh ingredients consumers rely on for their dinner tables. To raise awareness of just how crucial pollinators are to our food system, the Providence, R.I. University Heights Whole Foods Market store temporarily removed all produce that comes from plants dependent on pollinators. They pulled from shelves 237 of 453 products – 52 percent of the department's normal product mix.

To help support honeybee populations, for every pound of organic summer squash sold at Whole Foods Market stores from June 12-25 the company will donate 10 cents to The Xerces Society for pollinator preservation.

"Pollinators are a critical link in our food system. More than 85% of earth's plant species – many of which compose some of the most nutritional parts of our diet – require pollinators to exist. Yet we continue to see alarming declines in bee numbers," said Eric Mader, assistant pollinator conservation director at The Xerces Society. "Our organization works with farmers nationwide to help them create wildflower habitat and adopt less pesticide-intensive practices. These simple strategies can tip the balance back in favor of bees."

Products removed included:

Apples
Onions
Avocados
Carrots
Mangos
Lemons
Limes
Honeydew
Cantaloupe
Zucchini
Summer squash
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Celery
Green onions
Cauliflower
Leeks
Bok choy
Kale
Broccoli
Broccoli rabe
Mustard greens

Whole Foods Market offers four more ways to "bee part of the solution." Details are online at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/sharethebuzz.

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