Photo by J. Marshman © 2021
FOOD STUDIES: Matter, Meaning & Movement
Edited by David Szanto, Amanda Di Battista, and Irena Knezevic
D. Susan Willis Chan, PhD
The Movement of Pollen:
Pollinators, People, and the Planet
A Socio-Ecology of Pollination:
A Case Study
Our case contribution examines a socio-ecology of pollination. We explore the themes of meaning and movement in several ways. We consider how food moves/migrates and how a parallel pollen movement via pollinators occurs. For example, cucurbita crops (pumpkin and squash) are human-domesticated crops, making them incapable of thriving in the wild. These crops were moved across North America via human seed-sharing and trade routes from the crop’s centre of origin in Meso America. The spread of the crop facilitated the spread of one of its most important pollinators, the wild hoary squash bee (Eucera (Peponapis) pruinosa) that co-evolved with the crop’s wild ancestors to become a cucurbita pollen specialist. The bee’s spread into regions, like Ontario, where there are no wild cucurbita, creates an important reciprocity where the bees, the crop, and humans depend on each other for success. These movements (movement of seeds, movement of pollen) help us to understand that food is more than what we put in our mouths, and that pollination is a natural process that links us to nature and to crops in the most intimate of ways via the foods (pollen or fruit) provided by the crop that is literally taken into the body of both bees and humans.
Global Transformations of Food Systems for Climate Change Resilience
Preety Gadhoke, Barrett P. Brenton, Solomon Katz, Editors
Laurier Sustainability Office
Certified Master Melittologist
Delving deeper into the study of native bee biology and ecology.