Forefront of Sustainability: The Green House Growers joins MDS
As MDS continues to expand, so has our Membership, and we’re pleased to welcome The Green House Growers to the network. We are seeing more and more Trainees interested in pursuing careers in sustainability, often prioritising company ethics and values over company benefits, which makes the addition of our new Member fantastic.
The Green House Growers started as a small family business in 1977 but has developed rapidly, now set to grow over 12% of the UK’s tomatoes and 10% of the UK’s cucumbers in the next few years. Despite such significant growth, the business remains true to its values. The Green House Growers has continued to be at the forefront of pioneering sustainability, whether that’s using bumblebees for pollination, taking care over every drop of water or being the UK’s first growers to produce low carbon salad – with a reduced carbon footprint of up to 60%.
MDS was recommended by Operations Manager Lloyd Joel, an MDS Alum who completed the programme with group 38 in 2012. We spoke to Lloyd about how he sees the collaboration and his unique perspective on MDS as a Trainee (Alum) and Member.
What do The Green House Growers do?
We are growing cucumbers and tomatoes across three different sites in the UK. With 85% of our energy requirements being provided by renewable energy sources, The Green House Growers are proud to lead the way to a brighter future of British food production. This is a business that has two new sites that didn’t exist three years ago. With over £100 million of government investment, our new greenhouses are bigger than 26 football pitches and at the forefront of innovation. It’s a fantastic company with incredible opportunities.
What are some of the innovative steps the Green House Growers are taking to be more sustainable, and why is this so important?
The new glasshouses in Norwich (2021) and Ely (2022) are unique. From capturing wastewater heat, using CHP pumps, collecting and cleaning rainwater, to using solar energy. The business is focused on supplying Britain with high-quality, homegrown produce in a way that can continue for years to come.
What was your business’ connection to MDS before becoming a Member, and what spurred you to join?
We have grown incredibly quickly, opening two new sites in the last two years, totaling around 40 hectares of new glass houses. We wanted to recruit fresh talent with a vested interest in the food sector, and there seemed no better place to start that search than through MDS.
As an MDS Alum and new Member representative, why do you see the MDS programme as crucial for businesses and industry talent/recruitment?
I was on MDS from 2010 until 2012 and saw first-hand some of the talented individuals that are coming through the programme. Being able to do four different roles in two years is a very unique opportunity and provides such valuable experience. It is fantastic for the industry to have such a pool of talent that has a genuine interest in the future of British food. I think now more than ever, with such a mix of Member companies and opportunities available to Trainees, there is no better programme for people looking for a successful career in any part of the agri-food and horticultural supply chain.
How do you aim to utilise Trainees in your business?
The Trainees joining our business will be in somewhat of a unique situation. Not only have we not had a Trainee before, but as a new business, we have so many things to be implemented. Trainees will be involved in firstly creating as well as implementing procedures. They will be joining a new and young management team, open to ideas on ways of working.
At the moment, with such a wide variety of tasks that require assistance, there will be fantastic opportunities for any Trainee joining us. Whether the Trainee is in a commercial, operations or logistics role, they will be free to keep taking on additional responsibilities and steer their career. I think the most exciting thing for a Trainee joining our business is that if they can create and implement effective new systems, they will have really left their mark in our business and have something to hang their hat on.