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By: Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl | Posted: 03/05/2014
Have you been freaking out about pesticide and herbicides killing all our pollinators (butterflies, bees, moths)? Well, as anyone who regularly reads my work knows, I think this is the biggest food story of our time. And over the winter the news about butterflies kept getting worse, as did the news about bumblebees, including Minnesota’s own cute rusty-patched varietal. Heck, that’s why we’re having a big pollinator party, panel, and Save the Bees event on March 18.
Can’t wait? I have good right now news too! I just got off the phone with Dale Bachman and John Daniels of the local garden store Bachman’s, and it turns out they've gone neonic free! Neonicitonoids are the systemic insecticides that are expressed in every cell of a plant and in its nectar and pollen. They've been widely credited as one of the many problems challenging pollinators, and there's even been protests at Home Depot and other big box stores because their plants, their tomatoes, and everything else are neonic treated. Thus, why it's such a big deal that Bachman's has made the move.
“We’ve decided to elminate neonics,” Bachman said. “In all our production operations, in the plants we produce, in nursery stock and outdoor plants, in any plants which are out and available for pollinators.”
But there’s one caveat, Bachman told me, so far they can only speak the production they control, which is the great majority of what they sell but they also sell some plants from other vendors and are working with those companies to make sure everything is neonic free.
For instance, they get tomatoes from one local vendor and have commitments that all of Bachman’s tomatoes will be neonic free, and from this point forward they will spend the rest of the season getting those commitments from their other vendors, but as of right now they can say that all of their native plants such as milkweed or butterfly weed and all of the plants they grow themselves such as shrub roses will be neonic free.
So, hooray! Thank you, Bachman’s! So stop by Bachman’s flower show at Macy’s when it opens on March 23, the theme will be Secret Garden, and now you’ll have a little insider info: Bachman’s secret is that its flowers are safe for pollinators.
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.See bio
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