Tue 01 May 2018
A fresh look at local business
From investing in apprenticeships locally to improving lives in Senegal, West Africa, G’s are a vastly impressive global business headquartered in East Cambridgeshire. Established in 1952 and with an annual turnover of £370 million, the group has over 5,000 employees. Councillors and officers from East Cambridgeshire District Council recently donned wellies and braved the mud and rain to find out more
The finest, blackest East Cambridgeshire soil
Yes, it was muddy, it was raining. It was organic. After a tour of the premises led by Operations Manager, Simon Hirst we had a short bus ride out to Hainey and Fordey organic farms, led by Simon Gardner, Crop Manager Organics. G’s is very committed to farming with environmental management in mind: replacing and planting new hedgerows, using set aside buffer zones around fields for ecological diversity, creating new wildlife habitats including wetlands, wildflower and wooded areas. We were not surprised to be told that this area is also below sea level, and it was so wet we may have seen a fish swimming past as part of the wildlife diversity!
The freshest vegetables
From onions to celery, radish to mushrooms and a vast array of other crops, G’s supply all the major UK and many European retailers. With farms and production facilities in the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Senegal and the USA, G’s manage the entire process themselves from seed to shelf; via growing through to production and marketing.
We learned these facts and more in a presentation given by Marketing Director Anthony Gardiner and Group HR Director Beverly Dixon. There probably isn’t a person in East Cambridgeshire who does not know of G’s, but….
Here’s the bit you might not know
In 2011 G’s began their West Africa Farms project in Ngnith, Senegal. After purchasing land and gifting a portion of it to the community, the company supported the clearing of this land and built a canal to irrigate it - enabling over 500 families to produce their own crops. Access to water has enabled the community to develop a significant area of production for the local market and provide both income and a more varied and balanced diet. G’s have also built a medical centre, schools and pre-school, even supporting a local young man to become a teacher. In 2014 the World Bank visited the project and was so impressed that they created an organization called PIDDIDAS which copied the business model to attract other foreign investors to Senegal. West Africa Farms currently employs 1,200 people from 17 different villages in the rural community of Ngnith.
Pictured above: Beverly Dixon, G's Group HR Director and Anthony Gardiner, G's Marketing Director
Aside from internships, gap year summer jobs and business placements, G’s are investing heavily in the future of local young people by offering an impressive array of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are available in Engineering, Farming, Sales & Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain and IT, to name a few. If you know somebody who might be interested, point them to G's website here.
G’s Open Farm Sunday 2018
See it all for yourself. Save the date in your diary for Sunday June 10th and enjoy: Farm tours, factory tours, food, face painting, picnic boxes, fresh lemonade, raffle, pedal tractors, machinery displays, bouncy castle, hog roast, farmer’s market, BBQ, career stands, vintage tea party, farm agronomy, insect corner, Wicken band, and children’s attractions. Search G’s Open Farm Sunday on Facebook for more details.