Since our founding in 1983, Gills Onions has dedicated our entire operation to values of sustainability, transparency, and conscious farming. We’ve passionately explored new technologies and approaches that help us maximize our conservation efforts and preserve our earth for future generations.
At Gills Onions, every day is earth day. Our mission is to be fully aware of the impact our efforts as one of the largest fresh-cut processing plants in the world have on the environment. Every day, we continuously make and achieve goals that hold us accountable to our earth in each organizational and operational level of our business.
Here are some of the ways we are pioneering regenerative agriculture and eco-friendly business practices and how we are encouraging others in our industry to do the same.
Our Commitment to Conscious Farming
Terms like “conscious farming’ and “regenerative farming” boil down to one core principle: reversing the effects of climate change by undertaking agriculture practices that make our environment better.
We know that healthy soil leads to healthy plants, and healthy soil lasts for generations. We know that everything that happens to our soil happens to our onions and to our planet, so we treat it with the utmost care.
Through our unique seed to shipment onion growing prescription, Gills Onions is able to reduce our usage of chemicals and minimize our impact on the air, land, water, and other energy resources that surround us. We do so through verified sustainable ag practice like:
- Increasing plant yields per acre and decreasing the amount of land required for growing
- Innovative seed development that reduces the need for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
- Integrated pest management
- Drip irrigation
Farming onions “The Gill Way” has reduced our growers’ use of nitrogen by more than 50% compared to other onion growing operations. We’ve also reduced water consumption by 40%, which means we now conserve enough water each year to meet the annual needs of 2,900 households in our home state of California.
Curbing Our Environmental Effects Through Zero Waste
In 2009, we decided to hold ourselves accountable to our own mission of conservation. Gills Onions made a goal to achieve zero waste in our processing, warehouse, and offices.
Over the past decade, we’ve developed strategies that have helped us move toward diverting 100% of our waste into productive outlets. Through the implementation of wide-range recycling programs and the expansion of waste reduction initiatives, our company’s waste diversion reached 99.2% in 2018.
For example, our innovative Onion Power program uses the Advanced Energy Recovery System (AERS), which converts all of our onion waste into ultra-clean, virtually emissions-free electricity. It provides 100% of the base electrical load for our processing plant, which eliminates 14,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
By being transparent about our energy usage and resource management, we hope to set the standard for other companies to evaluate how they can work toward eliminating waste as well. Every step we take toward environmental accountability makes our world a better place.
Advocating for Community Change
Too often, businesses shy away from words like “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” fearing that they will hurt their bottom line. At Gills Onions, we’ve found the opposite to be true. Our earth-friendly initiatives have positively impacted our employees, our customers, our industry, and most importantly, our environment.
And these practices have benefitted our bottom line. We’ve been able to reduce operational costs, increase efficiency, improve our resource management, and achieve greater energy independence.
By thinking about how we can better care for our earth each day, we are driving innovation and leading the charge for green policies and practices that benefit everyone. We are advocating for and supporting environmentally-friendly initiatives in the ag industry and in our nation.
We hope you will join us by supporting and implementing practices in your own home and business that help preserve our earth. To get started, explore these simple ideas. Together, we can all make our world a better place.
Happy Earth Day!
Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.