Today, World Bee Day, Cortijo el Puerto pays tribute to them and all the team of pollinators that make this landscape possible.
If you like to walk among flowers or have a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals … on your table it is thanks to them, to the pollinators !!!!
Bee Day celebrations raise awareness about the threats to pollinators like bees by human activities. This year’s theme is “Bee engaged: Build Back Better for Bees”
“A philosophy of life … a unique ecosystem”
As organic farmers we have acquired a deep environmental awareness, we are clear about our commitment to ecology and respect for the environment, we work to promote fertility in the land through the regeneration of the soil and to favour biodiversity and natural ecosystems that integrate fauna and flora and balances itself with its interactions.
The pollinator is essential for plants, to produce fruits and seeds, by carrying pollen from flower to flower. In this way, many plants and a large part of our food depend on the service provided by bees, flies, butterflies, beetles, wasps, moths, mosquitoes and ants and bats, among others. Among these, bees, are the most important group with wild and domesticated (specially Apis mellifera) species that act as pollinators. There are thousands of varieties of bee and bumblebee species. Many are wild and not all make combs. Unfortunately, the so-called climate change, the degradation of their habitats, agricultural practices, changes in land use or invasive species are seriously affecting their ecosystem and survival.
The good news is that we can also do a lot …
Hotels for insects: Our guests, a committed team
To house the insects in Cortijo el Puerto we build hotels with natural materials from the Sierra Norte de Sevilla, organic, without chemical treatment to avoid driving them away, supporting and encouraging loyal beneficial fauna. We have a “wide range of rooms” according to the client’s needs: for bees, bumblebees and wasps, accommodation for bamboo canes, wood and perforated bricks; for ladybugs to acclimate during winter, tree bark or stacked woods; for delicate butterflies and lacewings, closed boxes filled with straw with an entry slot; For the rest of insects, rooms with pine cones, branches as shelter and turned pots filled with fiber for earwigs.
Of course, the location of our hotel chain is optimal to ensure isolation from the prevailing wind and rain. They are oriented towards the south so that the Andalusian sun heat will see future generations being born… Genuine five-star hotels for insects!
Beehives: Our “deal” with the bees
At Cortijo el Puerto we have negotiated a natural exchange with bees, the pollinating insects par excellence, for the whole year. We put at your disposal shelters in hives, a common hostel for the colonies of worker bees and drones and bumblebees “bombus terrestris”, with a suite for the queen bee, and food: nectar and pollen from our ecological restaurants with floral bands and plant covers. In return, they pollinate our olive grove, the self-fertile varieties of almond trees, the biodiversity bushes… increasing the flora and the quality of the crops.
To taste we also obtain “best organic honey jars”, pollen, natural wax and royal jelly. A great agreement and the best possible “Bed and Breakfast” !. We have seventy-five permanent hives of honey bees throughout the year. Bees are essential to pollinate all our flora together with bumblebees, hoverflies, etc.
Biodiversity, Ecology and Innovation are characteristic features of Cortijo el Puerto. This 2021 we have started with a sample of it in the recently signed collaboration agreement with the European Showcase Project.
The EU-funded SHOWCASE project aims to shed light on these issues by reviewing and testing the ecological effectiveness of a range of economic and societal incentives to implement biodiversity management in farming operations and examine farmer and public acceptance. The project is focusing on result-based incentives, involvement in citizen science biodiversity monitoring and biodiversity-based business models. Moreover, it will design communication strategies that are tailor-made for farmers and other key stakeholders operating in different socio-economic and environmental conditions.
Biodynamic encourages the whole ecosystem
We know that the most valuable part of a farm is not its crops but the land, specifically the superficial part that is the most fertile, if we maintain a living soil we will have almond, olive, citrus trees … alive. The agriculture model that best conserves the land is ecological and biodynamic. We practice biodynamic Ecology by encouraging biodiversity, we integrate all the elements that exist in nature within the farm, flora, fauna and habitat.
As explained on the project website, to help pollinators, it is about doing agriculture with common sense. An agriculture that thinks long term and is committed to the environment. There is no single recipe for this. Success lies in co-designing measures adapted to the economic, social and ecological reality of each place and rigorously evaluating this process. In Spain, this community has begun to be built in the Guadalquivir valley (North of Seville), around fruit crops (but not necessarily restricted to them). The actions to be carried out can vary from developing simple tools to measure the pollinator potential of farms, to optimizing the use of water, everything will depend on the needs and possible solutions that we find.
The flora at Cortijo el Puerto (trees, shrubs and vegetation cover) are the backbone of the farm, the basis of our ecosystem. All plants are prepared to capture solar energy, thereby feeding other species, increasing pollination and producing healthy food (olive oil and almonds) for human consumption. In the end of the cycle, sheep and donkeys clear the vegetation cover and we return the organic matter to the soil, helping decomposition and mantaining this life cycle of the food chain.
In order to obtain the best results for our flora, we have analyzed the whole surface of the land to be cultivated, studied the essence of the soil, planted wood crops using GPS, and sought the most favorable plant associations for the vegetation cover.
Vegetation cover fulfills four objectives:
First, it covers 100% of the surface of the farm, nourishing the soil
Second, staggered flowering: we have chosen flowers that bloom throughout the year, in order to help the farm’s fauna
Third, it promotes biodiversity
Fourth, it attracts outside wildlife and avoid contamination of neighbouring farms.
The biodynamic agriculture that we practice at Cortijo el Puerto conforms a philosophy of life, understanding the soils and the interactions of the ecosystem, producing food in a healthier way and with higher quality.
On the other hand, at Cortijo el Puerto we understand that organic farming is the future. All agriculture will tend to become organic sooner rather than later, consumers are valuing more taking healthier products, respect for the environment and the fight against climate change. We thus join, with our daily work and our tribute today, to help those who, despite their small size, carry the great responsibility and ability to maintain the biodiversity that feeds us every day.
A green toast to bees and pollinators!