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Preservation Bread & Wine making effort to help bees

GENEVA – People need to stop and understand the chain of events that occurs in nature before sitting down and enjoying a meal, Lawrence Colburn said.

Colburn opened Preservation Bread & Wine in downtown Geneva four years ago, and he said the name describes his restaurant’s philosophy.

He said Preservation has an “old-world” feel that gives customers an intimate experience with friends and family.

For Colburn, human and ecological intimacy are equally important. While the lack of TVs in the restaurant might force guests to look at each other, Colburn said he wants people to “experience being part of your food.”

Colburn has decided to connect full circle with the ecological processes that support his restaurant by passing out 400 packets of buckwheat seeds starting Thursday and continuing until they run out.

The former sommelier explained that honeybees and buckwheat have a symbiotic relationship and are paramount to supporting the food chain and product he serves. He said he hopes customers will plant the seeds and help the honeybee populations that have been struggling across the country.

Thomas Sims, associate professor at Northern Illinois University’s Biological Sciences Department, said both honeybee and natural bee species are declining for a number of reasons. He said native populations are suffering because of a combination of habitat destruction and insecticides.

Sims also discussed colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon where enough worker bees die to the point where the population cannot be sustained. Sims cited multiple reasons for colony collapse disorder, including mites in the hives and stress on bees due to traveling to and from orchards.

The Husky professor called Colburn’s plan to pass out buckwheat seeds a “valuable approach.” Sims recognized that while buckwheat seeds will not solve the decline in bee population, he said planting the seeds would provide refuge for local bee populations.

Colburn said ultimately he wants people to enjoy his restaurant and receive nourishment of the body and soul and understand that bees play an important part in pollinating produce that he serves. It is important to preserve what Mother Nature has given us, Colburn said.

What an “incredible thing that nature does to provide us all this product,” Colburn said. “These great [natural] products … that’s what [makes Preservation] successful.”

To learn more

For more information about the buckwheat seeds being given out at Preservation Bread & Wine, 513 S. 3rd St., Geneva, call 630-208-1588.

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