Game, set and match? Wimbledon's iconic strawberries and cream under threat unless urgent action taken, experts warn

·2-min read
Dairy cooperative Arla are urging households to come on-board and help protect pollinators - a move that could help salvage Wimbledon's famous strawberries and cream
Dairy cooperative Arla are urging households to come on-board and help protect pollinators - a move that could help salvage Wimbledon's famous strawberries and cream

Don’t expect to celebrate Britain’s next winner at Wimbledon with home-grown strawberries and cream, experts have warned.

Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a home men’s winner at SW19 in 2013 and you need to go back to 1977 for Virginia Wade’s success in the women’s event.

And what could become just as rare as British success at the All England Club is British strawberries, 150,000 servings of which will be consumed by tennis fans during the next fortnight.

Bees, butterflies and bugs play a key role in the food chain and they desperately need more flower patches across the country - or could be 'game, set and match' for much-loved products by 2046.

Dairy cooperative Arla, which is owned by 2,300 farmers across the UK, is among the organisations now urging households to also come on-board and devote a corner of their back gardens, balconies, hanging baskets, window boxes or plant pots to helping to protect pollinators.

"Urgent action is needed now, or we stand to lose the food and plants that are such an intrinsic part of the British way of life,” said Buglife director Paul Hetherington.

“One out of every three mouthfuls of the food we eat every day depends on pollinators.

"These pollinators are the backbone of our biodiversity and without them there would be no British strawberries, apples, cherries, carrots, pumpkins and so many more of the foods we love, as well as the flowers in our gardens and countryside.

 Arla farmer Roger Hildreth is backing the Bee Road to give the nation a buzz
Arla farmer Roger Hildreth is backing the Bee Road to give the nation a buzz

The Royal Horticultural Society have admitted their concern about the decline of bees and pollinators while Greenpeace claim a third of UK bees have disappeared in the last ten years.

Working with invertebrate conservation charity Buglife, Arla is encouraging a nationwide planting of flower seeds to try to avert the crisis and is also giving away 100,000 seed packs to help.

“Our farms’ ‘pollinator pit stops’ already form the skeleton of what we call the Bee Road, but the bees need more and so we need the Great British public and businesses to join us and fill in the gaps,” said Arla farmer Roger Hildreth.

“It’s a simple idea that promises to give everyone a bit of a buzz. Not to mention giving the bees and bugs somewhere safe to rest and refuel as they help to produce the food we love.”

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