Today the ATMAC European Study Tour group visited G’s Fresh, one of the largest growers of fresh vegetables in the UK.

G’s Fresh is a third-generation family farm, growing 1.2 billion packs of produce each year on 14,000 hectares across the UK, Spain, the Czech Republic, Senegal and Poland. The business supplies the majority of the UK’s lettuce and celery.

The G’s Fresh management team generously provided our tour group with an in-depth look at several key parts of the business, notably ethics and compliance, baby leaf salad packing optimisation and data science and digital agriculture.

With operations spread around Europe, West Africa and the US, ensuring the business is going above and beyond government and retailer requirements for ethical treatment of workers and prevention of modern slavey is critical.

That work has grown increasingly complex since Brexit for large growers like G’s Fresh. Where before they were able to employ migrant workers from within the EU directly, the business is now sourcing workers through a new six-month Seasonal Worker Visa scheme. This new scheme recruits workers from Central Asia or the Middle East through six approved recruitment organisations, adding extra layers to manage and audit for the G’s Fresh ethics team.

The tour group also heard about G’s Fresh’s digital agriculture work, which has enabled the grower to forecast the harvest time of lettuces at the time of planting to within two days, and to track and fertigate individual lettuces in the field, significantly increasing yield.

We were also able to visit an organic celery field and see one of G’s Fresh’s mobile harvesting and packing factories in action. The in-house designed machine allowed workers to harvest, wash, trim and flow-wrap celery right in the field.