Many people thought Whole Food‘s Instagram page was hacked two days ago when all of the posts the grocery store chain had posted up until that day magically disappeared. Now we officially know why the supermarket had everyone buzzing: Whole Foods has announced a new initiative to bring attention to the declining bee population.
The clever team at the Austin, Texas-based grocery chain began getting people talking by deleting every single post they had made since joining Instagram. Next they posted the same exact image — a white box with no text in it — without any caption six times in a row for two days, beginning this past Monday.
Comments from the market’s 2.6 million followers soon started pouring in, many wondering if the page had been hacked. Other people had their own theories.
“Uh oh, someone’s in a lot of trouble right now,” wrote one person, worried that a Whole Foods employee accidentally deleted all of the posts. “Whole Foods has issues,” said another commenter, possibly thinking the chain was in some kind of trouble. One person even thought the problem was their own. “Here I was thinking my Instagram was broken,” said the social media user.
The next phase was jokes about the bare images. “A list of what I’m eating to drop weight,” “Finally, a recipe I can manage,” and “The amount of money left in your pocket after leaving [Whole Foods]” were some of the funniest comments.
However, the more observant people noticed a bee emoji in the profile description, and that the store was only following five celebrities at the time who are all linked together because of bee-related things:
- Beyonce: Also known as Queen Bee, the singer’s fans are part of the Beyhive.
- Cardi B: Besides the letter “b” in her name, the rapper’s biggest hit, “Bodak Yellow,” has the color of the endangered insect in its title.
- Jon Bon Jovi: The rock star is a part-time beekeeper, raising the honey makers on the property of his New Jersey home.
- Sting: The musician born Gordon Sumner received his nickname after wearing a black-and-yellow striped sweater that made him look like a bee.
- Jerry Seinfeld: The comedian produced the 2007 animated film Bee Movie and provided the voice for the main character, Barry B. Benson.
“It’s to spread a message saying we would have nothing without bees, which are rapidly decreasing in population,” wrote one very astute Instagrammer. Added another, “It’s to show people that the beloved, delicious, and nutritious fresh foods will cease to exist without the hardworking bees who make them grow.”
These people were correct.
Earlier today, Whole Food’s Instagram began sharing video posts with bees buzzing around and each caption having an important message about the bumbling bugs.
“Better BEE-lieve it wasn’t a hack,” was one caption. In another post, Whole Foods asked, “Did you know one out of every 3 bites of food you eat is made possible because of pollinators?”
“But you can help us by donating,” the socially conscious supermarket chain continued in the series of posts, which all had the hashtag “#GiveBeesAChance.” “We’re partnering with the [Whole Kids Foundation] to raise money for 50 new school honey beehives… Because when kids have access to educational beehives… They learn just how important pollinators are to our food.”
The next set of posts were of foods that grow thanks to the help of bees like blackberries, cherries, almonds, peaches, and avocados. More posts like these will most likely be added to the Whole Foods feed as the day goes on.
How can you help?
Visit the Whole Kids Foundation‘s website to make a donation. The organization is hoping to reach a goal of $100,000. It was more than halfway there by mid-Wednesday.
The raised funds will be used to give 250 schools beehives, beekeeping suits, books, and other educational materials so children can learn first-hand all about the importance of the pollinators in our ecosystem.
Whole Foods chose this week to launch this buzzworthy initiative because June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week. “Eleven years ago, the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations,” it is stated on the Pollinator Partnership’s website. “Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles.”