Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Matter, Meaning & Movement
David Szanto, Amanda Di Battista, and Irena Knezevic
Authors: Jennifer Marshman, PhD
D. Susan Willis-Chan, PhD
The Movement of Pollen: Pollinators, People, and the Planet
In this perspective we introduce the human-crop-bee relationship through the movement of pollen. A broad overview of pollinators and pollination is provided, with an emphasis on bees. We describe, in part, the relationship between bees and people and the three-way reciprocity that exists in the human-bee-crop connection. We distinguish between conservation of wild bee populations and the management of honeybees by beekeepers. Even though honey bees have become a symbol for conservation and environmentalism more broadly, they are not found on any species-at-risk list. Instead, it is native, wild bee species that are endangered or of concern in Canada and beyond. The pollination services of honey bees in their constructed, mobile hives, have long been thought to be critical for conventional agriculture that relies on large swathes of monocultures requiring biotic pollination. However, increasingly, even in commercial systems, the important role of wild bumble bees, solitary bees and stingless bees in crop pollination is being recognized, in some cases as more important than honey bees. In plants, genetic material is passed through pollen and a diversity of plants is reflected in the diversity of animals that pollinate them. And yet, the very food systems that need bees may be putting them in peril in a variety of ways. True reciprocity requires adjustment but provides long term sustainability to the plant systems that humans and bees alike depend on for food.
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.
2023 Manning, P. and Marshman, J. Conserving insect biodiversity in agroecosystems underpins sustainable diets. In K. Kevany and P. Prosperi (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Diets. Routledge. LINK: https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Sustainable-Diets/Kevany-Prosperi/p/book/9781032004860
2022 Marshman, J. and Willis-Chan, D. S. The Movement of Pollen: Pollinators, People, and the Planet. In D. Szanto, A. Battista, and I. Knezevic (Eds.), Food Studies: Matter, Movement & Meaning. Rebus Press. LINK: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/foodstudies/
2022 Willis-Chan, D. S. and Marshman, J. A Socio-Ecology of Pollination: A Case Study. In D. Szanto, A. Battista, and I. Knezevic (Eds.), Food Studies: Matter, Movement & Meaning. Rebus Press. LINK: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/foodstudies/
(In Press). Marshman, J. Bee Cities: Pollinators, Climate Change, and Food Security. In P. Gadhoke, B. P. Brenton, S. Katz (Eds.), Global Transformations of Food Systems for Climate Change Resilience. CRC Press.
(In Press). Gibbs, H., Hagerman, B., Hodson, E., Iqbal, S., Klassen, C., Kuron, L., Marshman, J., Mehta, B., and White, M. “You Can't Engage in Decolonizing Work Alone”: The Value, Challenges, and Tensions Around Building a Contract Teaching Faculty Community to Disrupt Colonialism. In K. N. Rainville, D. G. Title, and C. G. Desrochers (Eds.), Faculty Learning Communities Working Towards a More Equitable, Just, and Anti-Racist Future in Higher Education. Information Age Publishers.
2021 Wilson, A., M. Bessey, J. Brady, M. Classens, K. Lee, C.Z. Levkoe, J. Marshman, T. Martens, S.L. Ruder, P. Stephens, and T. Soma. Reflections on the roles and responsibilities of food studies in Canada, Indigenous territories, and beyond 2020-21. https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v8i3.520
2016 Si, Z., Marshman, J., Berge, S., Dai, N., Soma, T., Dale, B. Landman, K., Bacher, J., Rahman, M., Levkoe, C. Review of the book Cities and Agriculture: Developing Resilient Urban Food Systems by Henk de Zeeuw and Pay Drechsel (Eds.). Canadian Food Studies, 3(2), pp 216-230. https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v3i2.177
2022 Marshman, J. & Chan, D.S.W. Pollinators and People. On-demand oral presentation at the ESA-CSC Joint Annual Meeting 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2021 Marshman, J. & Willis Chan, D. S. Making Space for Wild Pollinators: the Socio-Ecology of Pollination. More than human: interactions and relations panel presentation. 2021 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, UK.
2021 Marshman, J. & Knezevic, I. Challenging the Commodification of Pollination through the Diverse Economies of 'Bee Cities'. Radical Food Geographies panel presentation and discussion. 2021 ASFS-AFHVS-CAFS-SAFN Joint Virtual Conference.
2020 Marshman, J. The Bee City Movement: Shifting the Doomsday Narrative to Hope. Presentation for the Laurier-Milton Lecture Series [Recorded].
2020 Marshman, J. & Imort, M. How can Geography help us understand the COVID-19 pandemic? Presentation for the Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning [Recorded].
2019 Marshman, J., Chan, S., Wojcik, V. Conservation Praxis: Perspectives on a Healthy Future for People, Pollinators, and Planet. Panel organizer and presenter for the annual conference of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Finding Home in the "Wilderness": Explorations in Belonging in Circumpolar Food Systems. Anchorage, Alaska, June 2019.
2019 Marshman, J. Building bridges between people and bees [workshop]. Guelph Organic Conference, Guelph, Ontario.
2019 Marshman, J. Anthropocene Crisis: Urban Bees to Bridge the Human/Nature Divide [Guest lecture]. Wilfrid Laurier University, GESC 290A, Waterloo, Ontario.
2018 Marshman, J. Power, Praxis, and Inclusionary Othering: An Urban Bee Story. Paper presented at the Place-Based Food Systems Conference, Making the Case, Making it Happen. Richmond, British Columbia.
2018 Marshman, J. Power, Praxis, and Othering: Urban Bees to Bridge the Human/Nature Divide. Invited to present at the Third International Conference of Agriculture and Food in an Urbanizing Society. Porto Alegre, Brazil. [declined]
2018 Marshman, J. Anthropocene Crisis: Urban Bees to Bridge the Human/Nature Divide. Paper presented at the 13th Annual Canadian Association for Food Studies conference, Gathering Diversities. Regina, Saskatchewan, June, 2018.
2016 Marshman, J. Gleaning in the 21st Century: Urban Food Recovery and Community Food Security in Ontario, Canada [Pecha Kucha]. Presented at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Food Studies, Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City, Toronto, Ontario.
This lecture, planned for the Laurier-Milton Lecture Series, was moved into a remote format due to pandemic precautions. In this presentation I introduce the important role of bees as pollinators, and I talk about how The "Bee City" movement is engaging municipalities in pollinator conservation.
A joint lecture with Colleague Dr. Michael Imort. We draw on our expertise in human geography and in health for a ‘think global, act local’ approach to engaging with this novel virus, which will provide you with some theoretical insights into the global nature of the issue and practical takeaways to implement at home.