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Celebrating micro farmers with a Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market Pollinator Party

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!

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

“As a local food market, all of our produce depends on pollinators,” said market manager, Heather Ramshaw.

Bert Blouin and Heather Ramshaw try out some bee keeping equipment. CONTRIBUTED

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’re also referred to as micro farmers.

Local organization provided knowledge, engagement opportunities

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.

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

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

One of the vendors, Buzzy Bee Honey, boasted an active beehive, several native bee species, beekeeping equipment, and information boards explaining all aspects of beekeeping. Market visitors 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,” said Ramshaw.

While assembling their bee baths, kids learned the importance of helping bees in small ways. Bee baths, for example provide them a resting spot.

Something for everyone – including kids

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.

The plants were carefully arranged and chosen by Fedkenheuer. Each one was native to the Calgary region and suited for the colder environment.

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

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

The event gave vendors and market visitors the chance to learn about the importance of bees in the community.

The Pollinator Party was a huge hit for the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market. They’re already ‘buzzing’ with plans for next year’s event.

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