Founding Farmers and the George Washington University Mark First Anniversary of Largest Restaurant-Owned Urban Apiary

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Today, one of the most popular dining destinations in the country and a nationally recognized research university kick off the second year of a unique urban apiary partnership that fosters scientific research, sustainability awareness and the importance of knowing more about fresh food sources. Eight new beehives have been installed on a George Washington University campus building just blocks from Founding Farmers, and a 'Bee Spotting' campaign has been launched to engage the general public in an awareness effort on the importance of bees and pollination to the overall food chain.

Professor Hartmut Doebel releases the bees into one of the new hives.

“The urban apiary has been a key way for Founding Farmers to continue pushing ourselves to be as sustainable as possible,” said Dan Simons, Principal of VSAG and Concept Developer of Founding Farmers.

Founding Farmers, the greenest restaurant in Washington, D.C., and the George Washington University are pleased to announce the second year of their shared urban apiary. The restaurant has added eight new hives filled with Italian honeybees to the apiary on GW’s Lisner Hall rooftop in downtown DC after the demise of last year’s six hives.

“The urban apiary has been a key way for Founding Farmers to continue pushing ourselves to be as sustainable as possible,” said Dan Simons, Principal of VSAG, the restaurant consulting and management firm for Founding Farmers. “We decided to increase the number of hives in the apiary so we can continue to focus on education, and – of course – reap the benefits at the restaurant. We are so proud to further our commitment to community engagement through this partnership with GW.”

The second year of the restaurant’s urban apiary also marks the second year for a special monetary scholarship to be awarded to a GW biology student serving in the apiary study program.

"We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Founding Farmers, which allows our students and faculty an opportunity to research and learn more about bees and the honey they produce," said Diane Knapp, co-chair of the Urban Food Task Force at the George Washington University.

In a new research effort, today GW’s Hartmut Doebel, assistant professor of biological sciences, and his students will catch and mark the bees from observation hives with small colorful dots so they can be tracked as they fly over the city, visiting the District's flowers and other plants. Once the bees return to the hives, they will be checked so that their pollen collection patterns may be analyzed and studied.

Though it is not anticipated that the new hives will yield mass quantities of honey this year, Founding Farmers will draw culinary inspiration from the bees with menu items that highlight honey as an ingredient in the coming months. Additionally, an educational center and honey display featuring a honeycomb, sample honey and literature on apiaries and bees will be installed in the waiting area/library of Founding Farmers' D.C. and suburban Potomac, Maryland, restaurants.

The apiary underscores both Founding Farmers—and the Founding Farmers Bees’—commitment to local eating and community engagement and awareness of the importance of pollination for our food supply.

Visit the Founding Farmers website for honeybee updates and follow the bees on Twitter @FFBees.

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Jennifer Motruk Loy
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