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Microsoft in your community

Removing carbon with nature’s help

Microsoft and Climate Cleanup are working together to support sustainability projects in Dutch Datacenter Communities

“If you can imagine it, you can do it. That’s the essence of Climate Cleanup,” Linda Vosjan of Climate Cleanup says. According to her, there is every reason to be optimistic about reducing the excess carbon in the atmosphere. “If we restore and create ecosystems, we can limit global warming, while making our planet greener.”

Biodiversity is essential in creating a healthy future for humans. Microsoft has committed to protecting more land than we use by 2025. “The good news is that our way of working has double benefits: we remove carbon, and we get more nature as well.” However, acceleration is essential. “It only works if more people participate. The more we can work together with influential partners, the better.”

Datacenter community projects

Microsoft is working with Climate Cleanup to facilitate workshops for community organizations and citizens. The partnership focus is on developing and refining projects that use nature-based solutions to global warming. “We spoke to the persons involved with developing landscaped areas around the data center in Middenmeer,” Sven Jense of Climate Cleanup explains. “And we selected four promising sustainability projects to support: a nature area with locations for workshops or training sessions (de Pioniersplek), a recreational area (de Groene Oase), a food forest (Voedselbos Schellinkhout), and an edible picking garden (Pluktuin van Geesje).”

Beginning to measure carbon storage

One of these projects, Pluktuin van Geesje, is a two-hectare edible picking garden. The garden features healthy foods, such as pears, apples, gooseberries, and walnuts. The picking garden grows without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Sarai de Haan and Yoram van de Reep, who founded the picking garden three years ago, explain more about the project. “The support from Microsoft helps us to measure the carbon we store in our picking garden. This way, we contribute to the development of CO2 certificates,” Yoram says.

Circular production

Pluktuin van Geesje also uses Microsoft funding to support their oyster mushroom farm. “To provide our oyster mushrooms with the right nutrients, we collect waste flows from local organizations. We use a combination of coffee grounds and sawdust to grow our mushrooms. The mushrooms we produce go to local restaurants, while the mushroom compost, the residual product, is used as a soil improver. This way, we’re starting a circular economy using local waste flows,” Yoram explains.

Getting meal inspiration from nature

Another project is de Pioniersplek. Cees Kooy and Maaike Kooy-Esselink transformed the area around their farm into an inspirational location, where people can have outside meetings, attend workshops, and focus on teambuilding. These activities take place at the food forest they’ve developed. “People can use the food they collect from the vegetable garden, shrubs, fruit trees, and herbal plants to make a delicious lunch, right here in our kitchen. It’s a fun way to try new things, reappraise the value of food, and improve your health,” Cees says. He also explains how Microsoft helps their project. “It’s really valuable to have a partner like Microsoft support your business model. It strengthens our position in discussions with local municipalities and other farms, helping the project move forward. Their financial support also helps us to add a greenhouse for educational purposes, as well as plant more trees and shrubs. Microsoft employees even offered to help plant our trees!”

“It's really valuable to have a partner like Microsoft support your business model. It strengthens our position in discussions with local municipalities and other farms, helping the project move forward.”
—Cees Kooy, de Pioniersplek