Where do your flowers come from?
Did you know that approximately 65-75% of all cut flowers sold in the United States are imported? Additionally, according to the US Department of Agriculture, over 90% of imported flowers sold in the US come from Columbia and Ecuador. As consumers search for more locally-grown products, great strides are being made to support locally grown food products. However, the locally-grown cut flower market is still underserved.
Flowers and Bees: A Beautiful relationship in jeopardy
Bees are the most important global pollinator for human crops, including fruits, vegetables, and flower crops. However, bee populations are declining worldwide due to human impacts on habitat, pesticide exposure, and urbanization. In 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service added 7 bee species to the Endangered List. These are the first bees to ever be protected under the Endangered Species Act in the United States. Honey bees are the most abundant bee in the United States and produce honey and beeswax--highly valued substances for which there are no substitutes. With increases in intensive agriculture and urbanization, the diversity of floral sources has declined for all bees, and has likely contributed to the decline in bees worldwide, including the honey bee (Nicholls and Altieri, 2012. Agronomy for Sustainable Development).
This is where our farm and research collaborations come in.
To provide heirloom, unique, and rare cut flowers that are grown sustainably on our family farm to flower enthusiasts in Iowa and Nebraska. We support the preservation of diverse plants and the time-honored tradition of seed-saving. Whenever possible, we purchase our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit organization that preserves heirloom plant varieties. From our flowers our bees will collect nectar, pollen, and propolis. We aim to care for these bees in a sustainable manner and sell high quality, artisan honey, beeswax, and propolis products where 10% of the honey bee product proceeds support honey bee health research at Creighton University.
Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company, LLC is owned by Brian and Carol Orth. We are Iowa natives that own a 23 acre farm near Glenwood, Iowa with our three children. Brian graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Agronomy in 2002, and Carol graduated with a B.S. in Genetics in 2003 from Iowa State and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. Brian has worked in agricultural, conservation, and landscape industries for the past 16 years, and Carol has been a faculty member in the Biology Department at Creighton University for 8 years. We started Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company in 2015, initially selling honey and beeswax products from the honey bees on our farm. We love growing flowers and are expanding Bountiful Blossoms in 2017 to include cut flower sales!
Research Support-What we have achieved
- Field work research support for Tammy Tran's honey bee 2016-2017 research project at Creighton University entitled: "Dicistrovirus infections in honey bees (Apis mellifera): establishment of an infection model"