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Whole Foods Imagines Produce Dept. Without Bees

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Whole Foods Market removed half its produce items at a store here to show what the department would look like if there were no bees to pollinate plants.

Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Staff took out 237 of 453 products, a total of 52% of the produce items normally sold at the store. Removed items included apples, avocadoes, eggplant and broccoli.

The demonstration aimed to raise awareness of declines in bee populations in recent years and how that affects the food supply.

For every pound of organic squash sold in its stores from June 12-25, Whole Foods will donate 10 cents to The Xerces Society, which works with farmers on bee 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," Eric Mader, assistant pollinator conservation director at The Xerces Society, said in a statement. "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."

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