Farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla is launching a nationwide campaign to encourage the British public to join its 2,300 farmers and support pollinators by offering a small part of the garden as a safe place for them to refuel and rest.

The initiative was inspired by the cooperative’s ‘project pollinator’ initiative, a two-year Arla UK 360 project that identified practical ways of providing and enhancing biodiversity on dairy farms. All Arla farmer owners now work to support biodiversity as part of Arla’s overall farm standards programme, with many supporting pollinators in dedicated ‘pollinator plots’ or wild flower meadows.

However, while Arla farmers are already giving over areas of their land to grow special seed mixes for pollinators and putting up bee hotels, they know it’s not enough as pollinators need more regularly-spaced places to rest so they’re calling on the nation to get involved too.

Joining the call-to-action to encourage consumers to take part and create their own pollinator pit stops are Morrisons, a direct supporter of the Arla UK 360 Programme, and the home and garden experts Homebase. The initiative is also supported by bee and bug charity, Buglife.

Arla’s commitment to helping the public take part includes giving away over 100,000* packs of specially selected, pollinator-friendly seeds, creating special ‘how to’ guides and colouring kits to inspire children to get involved, which can be downloaded from the BEE ROAD online hub. The BEE ROAD will also be supported by a media partnership and online marketing activity.

Alice Swift, agriculture director at Arla explains “Our farmer-owners work alongside nature every day and it’s their passion and love of the countryside that has allowed us to deliver this instrumental biodiversity project. It is really inspiring to see how their wild flower strips have flourished and become alive with pollinators. Farmers are true custodians of the countryside and this project is a great example of the valuable role they play in protecting the land for the next generation.”

“Alongside our farmers, and retail partners Morrison’s and Homebase, there will be plenty of inspiration and cooperative spirit for everyone to get involved and do their bit.”

Sophie Throup, Agriculture Manager at Morrisons said: “Looking after our farmed and natural environment is important for us and our customers. Our bees play a vital role in pollinating our crops and we want to work with our farmers to look after them. We’re excited to be a part of the BEE ROAD, and as well as working with our farmers, we’ll work closely with our local communities to ensure we can help plant as many ‘pollinator pit stops’ as we can.”

Roger Hildreth, one of the dairy farmers taking part in the BEE ROAD adds “I’ve been planting these patches on my farm for a few years now and it’s lovely to see them buzzing with visiting pollinators. As a farmer I’m proud to be able to make a positive difference to the environment and how we can protect the future of our food system, I’m even prouder to helping everyone else get involved and become part of the BEE ROAD too.”