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World Bee Day – Bees in danger: adopt them! – Italian Cuisine

World Bee Day - Bees in danger: adopt them!

The alarm was raised a decade ago when the sudden and inexplicable depopulation of entire countries began to be noticed in many countries. bee colonies. And with the United Nations World Bee Day we rightly talk about it again.

Between 2007 and 2014, there has been a 30% drop in the number of insects in the hives worldwide and is a trend that has not diminished in recent years.

Now according to United Nations data, it is estimated that over 30 years their world population has shrunk by 70%. While in Italy 200,000 hives have been lost in 5 years. And in Europe 1 out of 3 bee species is endangered 1.

This phenomenon directly worries him beekeepers that produce the honey and, with them, the whole food production chain, since 70% of the plants existing on earth depend on the pollination of bees. To give an example of how much it can affect economically, just think that, in certain areas, the production of coffee has decreased by 50%.

The projections for the next decade speak of alarming hypotheses.

The dangers for bees

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) almost 10% of European wild pollinators are at risk of extinction.

Many factors contribute to endangering bees worldwide: the rarefaction of biodiversity and intensive monocultures, the illnesses infectious and bacterial, fungal diseases, i parasites, like the fearsome varroa destructor, which acts directly on the hive, i predators and, last but not least, poisoning from pesticides and agricultural treatments.

Within this scenario there are many activities to preserve these precious insects. From the choices in environmental policies: the European Union since 2018 banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which were decimating European hives. To private initiatives to raise awareness and safeguard the beekeeping heritage.

A thousand bees adopted for each year of the company's life is the idea of Monini, producer of Spoleto extra virgin olive oil. The project is part of the "2020 – 2030 Sustainability Plan": for its centenary, Monini is giving "family" to 100,000 bees from the Milanese hinterland, thanks to the collaboration with the Terrafiena organic farm in Carugate.

For example Meleto Castle, in the heart of Chianti, launches the Nel nome project
Bee. The goal is to triple the presence of bees through the time-controlled system of its biological hives. Whoever becomes the custodian of an apiary, will take care of it remotely and will be involved in the growth step by step. On each hive taken in custody with a donation of 350 euros, those who have adopted will have their name affixed to the cottage and will receive 1 kg of honey per year, for 5 years of foster care.

Actimel, simultaneously with the release of its new 100% Italian honey probiotic, has adopted an apiary supporting more than 180,000 Italian bees together with 3Bee, an agri-tech startup that develops intelligent monitoring and diagnostics systems for the
bee welfare. And it launches the consumer awareness initiative, inviting them to support and expand the 100% Italian Actimel apiary, adopting hives or planting flowers at home.

Barbara Roncarolo
May 2020
credits photo: PollyDot

How to celebrate World Bee Day – Italian Cuisine

How to celebrate World Bee Day

Today is World Bee Day. That's why they are important for the life of planet Earth. And the new trend of urban hives that produce zero-kilometer honey

Every May 20 is celebrated the World bee day. The aim is to remember their importance, which goes far beyond the final production of honey. Bees, in fact, are an essential link of our ecosystem, fundamental for its balance and indispensable also for many other living species, which pollinate and fertilize making their existence possible. For all these reasons, we must remember our pollinators and preserve them from extinction: not only today, but every day. Let's see how it could be done also in the city or in other places and not only in the countryside.

The bee crisis

Unlike us, bees live in a perfect society. They communicate with each other with extremely complex movements; the architecture of their nests is an inspiration for architects and designers and in their system the concept "vos, non vobis" (work, not for you). Yet they have to deal with us, which has caused them many problems. In fact, since the 1990s, as is well known (although it would not seem), the crisis in bees has worsened and has steadily and consistently decreased everywhere. There have been many causes, first of all the use of pesticides (such as neonicotinoids) which, as a Cilento beekeeper explains, Giovanni Cavallo, "Cause the depopulation of the hives, as the bees are no longer able to orient themselves and therefore, being poisoned, the colony collapses".
This would seem an unimportant fact, but if the situation worsened further the impact would have a large-scale impact. Because, as anticipated, bees are fundamental for the whole system, therefore starting from agriculture, as (statistically) bees pollinate more than two out of three fruits that arrive on our tables.
Thus, in recent years, various projects have been born (although not yet enough) to raise public awareness and change the trend of these data. Even for those who live in the city. In general, Giovanni Cavallo continues, "places far from conventional agriculture, immersed in the Mediterranean maquis or over the Alps and Apennines at more than 1000 meters, should not be underestimated; the important thing is that the environment is as clean as possible ".
Also another beekeeper, the Marches Luca Bianchi, he continues by arguing that «each of us has an important task for the survival of this insect. We should change our lifestyle, trying to make everything cleaner. For example, what I unfortunately see around these days is indecent: plastic masks and gloves thrown along the roads and unsuitable environments: each of us, with our own small gestures, contributes in favor of nature, or against it, degrading its beauty".

Are bees better in the city?

The result of this awareness has been the installation of hives even in cities where, despite common sense, bees seem to be better than in the countryside. The idea is based on a scientific fact, namely that paradoxically, the city air and soil present fewer pesticides than agricultural ones. As far as smog is concerned, it is potentially more harmful to humans than to insects, although the concentration of ozone in the city can confuse bees in identifying flowers, and therefore make it more difficult for them to feed. In the days of quarantine, in fact, the hives were superproductive! Luca Bianchi tells us that "although man has stopped much of his activities, nature has continued to run its course. The bees, in particular, continued the work, going to collect, to my surprise and happiness, an early, intense honey, with a very marked smell and taste … You will feel ".

Urban hives: the new frontier which is also a trend

But in reality urban experiments have also given excellent results: just think of the skyscrapers of New York, where having bees today seems to have become a real fashion. And maybe the fashions were all like that! Not least is the situation in Europe, such as the Vulkan Beehive urban beehive projects in Snøhetta, Oslo; or the Parisian bees that live on the roof of the Opera or Notre Dame (and also resisted the fire of last April). In Italy, on the other hand, the forerunner was Turin with the project Urbees, presented at Expo 2015, then followed by other cities such as Rome and Milan. How could in fact the Lombard capital not feel called into question, given that its patron Sant’Ambrogio is the protector of beekeepers and wax producers? In the city you can also attend various courses for enthusiasts, such as the Apiculture course Parco Nord Milano at Cascina Centro Parco. Last but not least, the honey produced by urban bees is technically zero km, which would further benefit the environment by reducing CO2 emissions due to any transport avoided. In short, is it making you want to adopt a queen bee and her friends?

Hives on the terrace

This could be the best way to celebrate World Bee Day: install an apiary on the terrace. According to the requirement of minimum distances, it is not recommended to adopt a swarm on the balcony, while there is the possibility of doing it precisely on terraces, gardens and condominium roofs, according to some rules. There are different policies in this regard, so the advice, as a first step, is to ask your condominium administrator for information. But remember that that of the beekeeper is a real job, just as making honey requires a lot of preparation, as bees must also be treated against varroa (an external parasite mite, their enemy number one); for this reason, before starting, we advise you to contact professionals in the sector. In this regard, the commendable initiative of Mauro Veca that, with his Apicolturaurbana, can be an excellent help to get you closer to the world of beekeeping, from finding bee colonies, to knowing the tricks of the trade, as well as to extricate yourself in the regulations of the bureaucracy.

Finally, we advise you to watch the episode Universal hatred of the Anglo-Saxon series Black Mirror: do we want all the precious work of the api to be replaced by technology in the future?

MSC Sustainable Fishing for World Ocean Day – Italian Cuisine

On June 8, on the occasion of World Ocean Day, MSC sustainable and certified fishing launches the Great Blue Future campaign, to raise awareness among consumers towards a more respectful choice, so that the oceans can always be full of life, today and for generations future

MSC Marine Stewardship Council, international non profit organization responsible for the most important global program of fish sustainability certification, also this year adheres to World Oceans Day on June 8, 2020 and it does so with the social campaign "Great blue future" to remind everyone of the strong link between our daily life and the great blue, which we can protect by choosing fish from a sustainable source.
How to do it? By purchasing those products they present the blue mark of MSC on the packaging, guarantee of fishing managed according to strict scientific sustainability standards.

Great blue future

"The oceans need the commitment of all of us to return to health," says Francesca Oppia, MSC program director in Italy. "While overfishing, climate change and pollution put ever greater pressure on our oceans, the choices we consumers make daily can change the entire fish supply chain."
Countryside "Great blue future" MSC Pesca Sostenibile wants to leverage these concepts and invites everyone to share a social collage on social media alongside the photo of a piece of sea food "from their heart" with a snapshot of a fish recipe made at home, using the hashtag #grandefuturoblu and tagging MSC Italia on Instagram @msc_italia and on Facebook @mscinitalia.
And for those who were not so practical or imaginative in the kitchen? Don't worry, MSC Italia recommends you 4 simple recipes: mussels with cider, cod with curry, salmon with gin and tuna bowl.

Scottish mussels with cider, leek and bacon

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Portions: 4 people

1 kg of MSC certified mussels
150 g of smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 leek, washed and sliced ​​on the diagonal
1 bottle of 330 ml dry Scottish cider
50 ml cream
1 curl of butter
Chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Crispy bread, for serving

Wash mussels under cold running water. Eliminate the "beard" still attached to the shell. If the mussels are open, picchiettatele firmly on the side of the colander or bowl, they should close immediately. discard those that remain open or those with cracked or broken shells.
In a large pan, casserole or wok with lid, melt butter over medium heat. During foaming add the bacon and brown it for a few minutes until the fat starts to shrink. Add the leeks and sauté them for another two minutes.

Pour the cider in the pan should boil and lather. Simmer for a minute, then slightly lower the heat.
transfer mussels in the pan, cover with a lid and let them cook with their steam for 4-5 minutes, until they are all open. shake every now and then the pan to help the mussels to open. Add cream and sprinkle with a generous handful of chopped parsley. Mescolatand all and serve immediately, divided into four bowls. Do not forget to serve to add the cooking broth, bacon and leeks to the bowl. serve with extra parsley and crusty bread.

Gin salmon with pickled cucumbers

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Portions: 4 people

Ingredients for salmon
1 kg of MSC certified salmon cleaned from scales
100 ml of gin
50 g of fine salt
50 g of sugar
Zest of 1 lemon

Ingredients for pickled cucumbers
2 large cucumbers
2 shallots
50 g of coarse salt
120 ml of white wine vinegar
75 g of granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric
Fresh dill

In the first place, roll out on a large pan of plastic wrap. Jumbled up zest of lemon and lime with gin, salt and sugar in a bowl and distribute 1/4 of this mixture on plastic wrap.
place the side of the salmon with the skin on top of this mix in the pan and cover it with the remaining mixture. Wrap all in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for a period of between 6 hours and maximum 2 days. The longer you leave the salmon, the more solid and flavorful it will be, so it depends on how you like it. 24 hours are recommended.
When you are ready to serve the dish, remove the salmon from the fridge, discard it from the cling film, washed salmon under cold running water and transfer it
on a cutting board. Cut thinly slice the salmon and serve with pickled cucumbers.

To make pickled cucumbers
Cut half-length cucumbers, remove the seeds in the center, digging gently with a teaspoon and then cut them with the help of a half moon, until they are about 1/2 centimeter thick. Slice shallots and add them to cucumbers in a bowl. cover with salt and leave for 2 hours, but if you have time, even up to 4 – they should be slightly soft but still have a little crunchiness. rinse well with cold running water, drain and dry them with paper towels. place white wine vinegar, sugar and spices in a pan and simmer. Add cucumbers and shallots and simmer for another 2 minutes. Switch off the fire and add the dill, then let it cool. When everything is completely cold, transfer to a sterilized jar and keep them for up to 1 month. Serve the salmon with cucumbers, rye bread, sour cream, watercress and chopped beetroot (Scandinavian-inspired accompaniment).

Japanese marinated rice and tuna

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Portions: 2 people

150 g of sushi rice
2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
4 tablespoons of soy sauce (salted)
2 tablespoons of mirin (Japanese rice wine)
2 tablespoons of sake (or 1 tablespoon of mitsukan and 1 tablespoon of water)
150 g of MSC certified yellow fin tuna fillet, thinly sliced
1 spring onion cut into thin slices
½ nori sheet, torn into large pieces

Rinse rice at least four times under cold running water. Drain it and set it aside for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile toasted sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown and also set aside.
transfer rice in a pot, add equal amount of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. After that let it rest the rice with the heat off and with the lid on for 15 minutes so that it cools slowly.
Put to marinate tuna in a mix of soy sauce, mirin and sake for 2-3 minutes. serve rice in a bowl adding the sliced ​​spring onion and nori; to this base add the slices of marinated tuna with a final sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve the bowl with a little wasabi aside to add as desired.

Cod with curry vegetables

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Portions: 4 people

4 cod fillets MSC certified
Curry powder
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of carrots
¼ cup of celery
¼ cup of zucchini
¼ cup of porcini mushrooms
¼ cup of corn
¼ cup of onion
¼ cup of leeks
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of raisins
200 ml of vegetable broth
fresh coriander

Cut diced vegetables. brown them in the pan with the crushed garlic and a drizzle of oil, seasoned with curry powder, salt and tomato paste and heat over high heat. Add raisins and vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile jumbled up oil with curry and salt and massage the cod fillets to flavor. Heat a pan and roast the cod with the skin facing down until golden brown. The oil must not be too hot, otherwise the curry powder will burn out.
Add stewed vegetables, finely chopped coriander and serve the fish fillets on the curry vegetables, decorating with a little fresh coriander.

MSC sustainable and certified fishing

More than 350 companies fishing in 34 countries they are certified according to the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. These companies almost fish the 15% of the global catch. More than 36,000 fish products worldwide have the blue mark MSC.
MSC also, in collaboration with Globescan, recently carried out research in 23 countries globally, with a focus onItaly and the progress that has emerged is important. Among the actions implemented, 1 in 4 people has opted for brands that offer sustainable products and the 74% of Italian consumers is fully aware that in order to contribute to the health of the oceans it is necessary to choose sustainable fishing products.
But the most encouraging data regards the future: the85% of Italians he is ready to take the field to protect the health of the oceans and more and more Italians declare that they will choose brands and stores that offer sustainable products, reaffirming that they are ready to change their habits by changing the species consumed if this should be necessary. Find out more on the official website of MSC Italia.

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