Jun 02, 2017 • By

Protecting worker bees around the world

Every third bite we take of food is the work of pollinators. Yet increasing stress on bee hives and habitat impacts agriculture as earth’s population keeps growing.

The health of our food chain is at stake without the work of pollinators. As a food company, we rely on Mother Nature and her creatures to thrive.


General Mills has worked to protect and restore pollinator habitat dating back to 2011 in the U.S., and most recently made a $2 million, five-year commitment to pollinators in partnership with the USDA and Xerces Society, which was matched by the USDA.

We didn’t stop there.

Protecting pollinators and establishing healthy habitat around the globe requires engaging and enthusiastic partners, like the renowned expert Marla Spivak, a distinguished McKnight University Professor in Apiculture/Social Insects who studies honey bees and native bees.

She regularly works alongside a French non-profit organization called OFA (observatoire Français d’Apidologie), which General Mills has been supporting for several years dating back to Yoplait’s 50th anniversary in 2015.

As part of the anniversary festivities and in partnership of OFA, Yoplait recently built a temporary garden at the base of the Eiffel Tower that attracted bees and pollinators, not to mention visitors from near and far.

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“It is urgent to act, as bees are the sentinels of our environment,” says Thierry Dufresne, founder of OFA. “As part of our partnership with General Mills and its Yoplait brand, together we can help raise awareness and fund new research for healthy queen bee breeding, and exemplary hive development.”

OFA focuses on work that protects bees and promotes the pollination necessary to grow fruits like strawberries, cherries, grapes.

Our work with OFA runs deep. In 2015, the General Mills Foundation awarded a 3-year, US$150,000 grant in addition to an exceptional grant of US$20,000 for the company’s 150th anniversary last year.

These funds contribute to the development of OFA’s programs that include training professionals and beekeepers to protect the ecosystem of bees and to fund applied research on bees.

Learn more about OFA and its observatory in this subtitled video.

Observatoire Français d’Apidologie – sub. ENG from OFA on Vimeo.

So far, OFA’s work in France has enabled the creation of 1,000 hives and fostered 3,000 queen bees. Over the next 10 years, the organization will train 30,000 beekeepers and create 10 million new hives throughout Europe.


“We believe that each citizen should be an actor of a worldwide movement to protect pollinators,” says Dufresne.

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