Paul and Mark Hayward are brothers and third-generation family farmers. Their pig farm, Dingley Dell Pork, is located in Suffolk.
Four years ago, the brothers decided to set aside close to 80 acres of land for wildlife. What a generous gesture to pollinators, no matter what size their farm is.
A scientific study performed on their land, under the guidance of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, leads to the amazing conclusion that they feed 1 million bees at any given time in a day.
They are trying to farm more sustainably and planted nectar-rich flowers, using a seed mix of phacelia, birds-foot trefoil, sainfoin which is also known as 'holy hay,' musk mallow, vetch, alsike clover and campium.
Mark says they are aware that bees are under great threat from modern farming methods, and that East Anglia is one of the worst offenders when it comes to bee foraging diversity.
Their goal from the beginning was to grow enough flowers to naturally feed a million bees in any given day.
Watch a single-minded bumblebee sucking up nectar in a flower garden in this 2:46-minute video:
Since every third bite of food humans eat is attributed to pollinators, the Hayward brothers wanted to ensure that their farm did not drive nature out, but rather embraced it as the hub of the eco-system and food cycle.
Many types of bumblebees in the UK have had a population decline of up to 70%, according to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and two species have gone extinct in the past century.
Gill Perkins, CEO of the Bumblebee Trust, said the studies show that Dingley Dell is feeding at least 1 million bees at any one given time, even if the 'bees per square meter' figure needs slight adjusting. What they have created here is truly exceptional and has not been done on this scale before.
The commitment and passion of the Hayward brothers for protecting bumblebees and ensuring that their farm is pollinator-friendly is commendable.
All of us can do this on a smaller scale, even if it's just a few flower pots of nectar-rich flowers like those mentioned above.
Let's all BEE Inspired by Mark and Paul Hayward ~ thank you both!