Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beekeepers & Activists Swarm Lowe’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in Charlotte


Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA -- On Friday May 30th, outside of Lowe’s Annual Shareholder Meeting, members of, joined by beekeepers from around the country, and a giant inflatable bee, will draw attention to the corporation’s continued sale of neonicotinoids, commonly known as neonics, a type of pesticides that has been linked to the collapse of bee populations worldwide.

WHEN:  Friday, May 30th.  Protest and visuals start at 8:00am ET.  Press conference and remarks at 9:00am ET.  Lowe’s Shareholder Meeting starts at 10:00am ET.

WHERE:  10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, at the intersection of John J. Delaney Dr. Charlotte, NC 28277

Beekeepers outside join Lowe’s shareholders inside asking the corporation to remove bee-killing neonic pesticides from its shelves, and to promote alternative products that are not toxic to bees. More than 730,000 people have signed onto a petition from, urging Lowe’s and Home Depot to stop selling the bee-killing pesticides.

“From all over the world, tens of thousands of everyday Lowe’s customers and shareholders are urging Lowe’s to think about the impact that these dangerous bee-killing pesticides have on our food supply chain and the company’s brand,”  said Paul Ferris, campaign director at  “It’s time for Lowe’s to remove bee-killing pesticides from its shelves and supply chain.”

"North Carolinians are deeply concerned about the threats facing our state insect, the honeybee," said Levy Schroeder, Executive Director at Toxic Free NC. "Faced with habitat destruction to climate change, bees don't need another challenge. Lowe's should be truly bee-friendly and take toxic pesticides off the shelves."

Neonicotinoids have been the focus of many recent studies, which have found repeatedly that even small amounts of the chemical have been found to have ‘sub-lethal’ and even deadly effects on wildlife. Earlier this year, the European Union issued a two year moratorium on the use of neonics.

For more information, or for interviews with or beekepers involved in Friday’s action, please contact Melissa Byrne at 609-364-4267 or Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bees, bees everywhere!

by Lynne Walter, Associate Director

It was an early morning in May, and I found myself traveling through the mountains of western North Carolina.  I drove further and further northwest in Madison County, passing through Mars Hill and beyond.  Finally, I arrived.  And there they were: Bees.  Lots and lots of bees.  Behind the electric fence, their hives stretched across a cool, green mountain field, and their low, resonant droning could be heard over the bubbling of the creek and the twittering birdsong.

Jon Christie and assistant, of Wild Mountain Bees, with their bees.

You may be asking yourself, is this the picturesque beginning to the new fictional novel I am writing?  Nope.  Just another day at Toxic Free NC, helping protect pollinators and supporting community gardens!

Back in October 2013, we held our annual Beehive Giveaway, and the winner was Briggs Avenue Community Garden!  But, the bees they won weren't going to be ready until the spring.  The nucleus colony of bees came from the fantastic people at Wild Mountain Bees, whose shop is in Asheville and whose apiary is in northwest North Carolina.

But wait, you may be saying, Toxic Free NC is in Raleigh and Briggs Avenue Community Garden is in Durham.  How did the bees get from one end of the state to the other?

*Enter brave and intrepid Toxic Free staff member*

I was already going to be in western NC, and after many coordinating phone calls and emails by my coworker Ileana, everything was set for the Great Bee Transport of 2014!

Everyone buckled in?  The bees in their transport box.

This involved driving into far northwestern North Carolina to get the bees; running the AC on full blast the entire drive to Durham so the bees wouldn't overheat, get angry, and die; wearing a hoodie sweatshirt as I drove; wearing the hood of the hoodie sweatshirt up on my head as I drove; getting weird looks from the other drivers for wearing my hood up; saying nice and soothing things to the bees during the trip; and turning off the raging AC every now and then to listen for angry buzzing.  Which, luckily, I never heard once.

You know, just buzzing out by the ventilation opening.
And you may be wondering, why would Toxic Free NC embark on this wild road trip adventure?  The answer is: because we care.

We care about protecting our pollinators.  We care about supporting local community gardens.  We care about helping ensure that everyone has access to healthy, pesticide-free food.  And, most of all, we care about keeping all North Carolinians safe from exposures to toxic chemicals and pesticides!

And sometimes that means you drive 4 hours down the highway with 25,000 buzzing passengers in your backseat.

The Bees at their new home!

See what the buzz about Toxic Free NC is all about!

Toxic Free NC's "Save a Bee Campaign" is made possible with support from The Burt's Bees Greater Good Foundation.  Want to bee a supporter, too?  Find out how you can help us keep the buzz going for protecting pollinators and organic gardening: