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Author's Summary
America’s four thousand species of native bees flit about the countryside in the shadow of their charismatic cousin, the honey bee, a colonial-era European import. In my book, I turn the light on our myriad native bees and show people how varied, fascinating, and useful they are.

This book isn’t a guide to bees, although it does have many beautiful photos (almost none of which are mine). This book is the story of a long-time gardener’s discovery and exploration of America’s bees. When I learned a few years ago that honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes but some our our native bees can, I took the first step into a previously hidden world outside my door. This book is about that world. I seek out the country’s best bee stories and meet the people involved. I visit farms, fields, labs, and even golf courses. I attend classes and hunt wild bees with scientists, and through it all, I work to evolve my tiny city garden into a haven for bees.

Bees matter. The earth looks the way it does, and we eat what we eat because of bees, yet no one seems to know it. I plan to change that. I hope to start a revolution where people throw out their weed-n-feed and start planting flowers in the lawn for the bees.

Our Native Bees is one of the finalists for the 2019 Washington State Book Award!
Where to get it?
Get the book from Workman Publishing
Where to hear more about it?
'Science Friday' Interview with Ira Flatow
Related Threads
What if honey bees were an invasive species thread at Permies

Promiscuously Pollinated Tomatoes and the Bees That Make Them Possible at Permies
Related Websites
Paige Embry's website
Posts: 252
Location: Midwestern USA, Zone 6b
trees food preservation medical herbs bee writing homestead
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

You know that bittersweet feeling you have when you get to the end of your favorite novel, and you're reluctant to leave the beloved world of the novel behind as it ends, but you're satisfied for the experience? I felt the same way when I finished Paige Embry's Our Native Bees.

The full title is Our Native Bees: North America's Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them, but a more accurate subtitle might have been 'and the stories that make them,' for it's the strength of the storytelling that really sings in this work of non-fiction.

Now I was already highly predisposed toward loving this book, since I'm somewhat obsessed with bees. I'm a volunteer with Shutterbee, a citizen-science bee study, and I'm now in my third year with that program. I'm also an avid supporter of Wild Ones, a group that promotes native plant gardening for the express purpose of providing habitat for pollinators, especially native bees.

But my personal obsession aside, I challenge any Permie to try reading this book and not fall in love with native bees.

From a permaculture perspective, it's important to read this book for these reasons:

  • Native bees might be able to and might need to replace or at least assist honey bees.

  • Many food plants are either best or solely pollinated by native bees (such as tomatoes).

  • You come away knowing a LOT about native bees, which can help in planning for your permie garden.

  • I've posted a more general review over at Brunette Gardens.
    I'm full of tinier men! And a tiny ad:
    A cooperative way to get to our dream farm.
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