CyrusOne pitches in to help the bees and food insecure in northern Virginia
CyrusOne has joined more than 100 volunteers from the data center industry in northern Virginia and partnered with DCs for Bees, 7×24 DC Chapter and Loudoun County Economic Development to create a buzz around aiding the local bee population and helping feed the food insecure for years to come.
On Nov. 10, a team of 14 from CyrusOne that included Robert Smith, David Johnson and wife Wendy, Chris Napier and wife Amy, Sara Vlassic, John Cable, Justin Conrow, Kenny Bland, David Rangone, Michael Noble, Dan Moore, Toby Haertl, and Laurene Richards joined others from the industry to build 25 new raised pollinator beds at the 150-acre JK Community Farm. The group shoveled dirt and filled raised garden beds that will host vegetation to attract and benefit area bees and other pollinators.
In turn, boosting the local bee population will help JK, which claims to be the nation’s largest community farm, increase its food yield and ramp up donations to the local community by an estimated 20,000 pounds a year. The produce and meat grown at the nonprofit farm will be donated to hunger nonprofits, such as Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others, Arlington Food Assistance Center and DC Central Kitchen, according to LoudonNow.
“Raised beds provide food for our bee population and each raised bed will allow the farm to donate an additional 1,000 meals annually to families facing food insecurity,” JK said. “Each raised bed can be utilized for a minimum of 10 years, which means over 10,000 meals for food pantries in our region and 10 years of benefit for our local pollinators.”
CyrusOne also teamed with Munters Data Center, EdgeConneX, 7×24, David McCall, Aligned Data Centers, JE Dunn, Digital Realty, FedP3, AKF Group, Bala Consulting, IPI Partners, EE Reed, Loudoun Economic Development, Yondr, Hitt Construction, Stack Infrastructure, and Greer Institute for Leadership to raise more than $16,000 to pay for the raised beds.
Dublin-based DCs for Bees is an industry initiative led by Host in Ireland that aims to slow the decline in bee populations. Bees, and other pollinators, are a vital part of crop production around the world, but they are in peril. Without their pollination, the crops humans and other species need to survive could perish.
“Bees are critically endangered globally,” said Garry Connolly, founder of Host in Ireland and DCs for Bees. “Via advocacy, awareness and most importantly action, DCs for Bees and the people of the data center industry are looking to make a difference and reverse this devastating decline.”
It’s an issue CyrusOne has already begun to tackle as part of our commitment to habitat and biodiversity. Our Dublin I Data Center campus in Grange Castle, Ireland, promotes local ecology and helps protect and grow our bee populations. As part of the initial planning process for our Dublin campus, we developed a comprehensive ecology assessment, with our full landscaping design focused on creating three complimentary habitats: grassland, wildflower meadows, and pollinator-friendly wetlands with an emphasis on native plant species.
It’s one reason why we jumped at the chance to help pollinators here at home in northern Virginia. Another reason is that when the 25 new beds at JK are fully developed and the bees get to work pollinating, the farm will be able to increase its food donations significantly. Already, the farm grows 536,924 pounds of food annually for northern Virginia food pantries, which equates to 429,540 meals donated to the food insecure.
“The JK Community Farm has made a huge difference for so many of us,” said Julie, a mother and food recipient of Loudon Hunger Relief. “Everyone deserves fresh healthy food, and JK Community Farm is helping that happen for their neighbors. Sometimes love is a basket of veggies given with no strings attached.”