The Almond and the Bee

Queen rearing along irrigation ditch

by Stephanie Hsia (MLA ’15)

The almond orchards of Central California, with a physical footprint already the size of Rhode Island, spans a landscape from the migratory bee keepers of Florida and Texas to the growing market of almond consumers in India and China. In a monocultural system that relies exclusively on honey bees to cross-pollinate, wild bees can provide a vital ecological service to almond growers, and ensuring and enhancing their populations is vital to our nation’s food security. There exists unexplored design opportunities that can economically benefit farmers while creating and sustaining a unique landscape. Almond and the Bee examines the spatial relationship between almond orchards and bees through time, and proposes local- and landscape-scale design typologies for wild bee pollination in the almond landscape.

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