Voxpro HQ to host urban gardening festival

They’ve always been proud of their Cork roots as they grew a global empire from a small seed. 

Now the husband and wife team behind Voxpro are poised to show off their green fingers.

Dan and Linda Kiely, who sold their global business outsourcing firm last year for a cool €150m, will throw open the gates of the company’s global HQ, Campus One, in Cork this Sunday for Voxpro’s first urban gardening festival.

Mr Kiely said that the festival has grown from the company’s own community spirit.

“And our creative and innovative space is an ideal location for this truly quirky and unique event,” he said.

Aimed at seasoned gardening experts, late bloomers, families, and foodies, the festival will feature a range of experts in everything from horticulture to animal husbandry with workshops, talks, and demos on topics including beekeeping and vertical gardening for urban apartment dwellers.

Dan and Linda Kiely, of Voxpro, with performer Foxy P Cox, announcing Voxpro’s first urban gardening festival, which will be held at the company’s global HQ, Campus One, in Mahon, Cork, on Sunday. The theme of the festival is self-sufficiency in smaller urban spaces. Pictures: Gerard McCarthy
Dan and Linda Kiely, of Voxpro, with performer Foxy P Cox, announcing Voxpro’s first urban gardening festival, which will be held at the company’s global HQ, Campus One, in Mahon, Cork, on Sunday. The theme of the festival is self-sufficiency in smaller urban spaces. Pictures: Gerard McCarthy

Voxpro began in an office above a pub on Cork’s Marlboro St in 2002 with a team of six offering customer, technical, and sales supports.

It evolved to provide high-end call centre operations for tech companies but the landing of clients including Google and Airbnb drove rapid expansion.

It led to Voxpro’s acquisition last year by Canadian giant Telus International in a deal worth an estimated €150m.

The Kielys are still involved in the company, which has offices in Dublin, the US, Bucharest, and Manila, and employs some 2,700 people — more than 2,000 of them in Ireland.

In 2015, Voxpro invited staff to pitch ideas to management as part of an innovation programme.

Employee David Humber suggested using spare land at Campus One to allow staff to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

His idea took off and led to the construction of the landmark geodesic dome greenhouse on-site, complete with vegetable beds, a herb pyramid, a chicken coop, and a ‘disco-ball’ pizza oven.

Last year, Voxpro hired horticulturist Kitty Scully to expand the project in what’s believed to have been the first hiring of its kind by a tech company in Ireland.

She will host Sunday’s event with festival manager Helene Wall-Horan.

Among the experts lined up are chef Rachel Allen; Olive Ryan of Dripsey Farm Fresh Veg; Darragh Stone, the craft gardener at Blarney Castle and gardens; Susan Turner, head gardener of Ballymaloe; medicinal herbalist John Vaughan, and Fergal Smith of Moy Hill Community Farm, the Mayo man who gave up pro surfing for organic farming.

The festival runs from 11am to 6pm on Sunday and is open to the public.

Tickets cost €3 on Eventbrite, with children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult.

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