In April, Gills Onions welcomed young health academy students from local Ventura County High Schools. Headed by the S.T.E.M. is G.R.E.A.T. Initiative, the students got to experience the magic of onion power for themselves! Students were able to watch the Gills Onions zero-waste project in action – ensuring that all onion waste is reused to create a sustainable energy source.
Harvesting Energy: Gills Onions’ Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
Our plant can process up to a million pounds of raw onions each day, creating an average of 150 tons of onion waste. By collaborating with innovators across the United States over several years, Gills Onions was able to develop the Advanced Energy Recovery System (AERS), which converts onion waste into ultra-clean, virtually emissions-free electricity.
The AERS provides 100% of the base electrical load for our processing plant, the equivalent of enough power to supply 460 homes for an entire year. It also eliminates 14,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
While these students’ interests may lie in the medical field, they had a unique opportunity to create a connection between where our food is coming from, what we put in our bodies, and the process to get it there, all while having a significant impact on our health and the environment’s health.
As our communities progress and thrive, the importance of S.T.E.M. grows increasingly apparent. This is especially true in the local agriculture industry, where S.T.E.M.-related careers offer unique and exciting opportunities for students to get involved in innovative scientific research, cutting-edge technology, and 21st-century engineering.
Empowering the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders: The Impact of SEEAG
Since 2008, SEEAG (Students Eco-Education and Agriculture) has impacted the lives of over 100,000 students and community members, providing food & agricultural literacy programs and community education & outreach events 100% free of charge.
SEEAG began with one dairy farmer’s daughter and her vision to change the lives of young women. When Mary Maranville arrived in Ventura County, California over 20 years ago and saw the bounty of local agriculture and farms, it inspired her to educate local school children about the origins of their food. SEEAG is a mission dedicated to the memory of Mary’s father and was founded to cultivate agricultural ambassadors with the hope they will help preserve family farms around the world.
Seeing as how there was such a demand for women in the field, the STEM is GREAT initiative (Science Technology Engineering and Math and Girls Representing and Entering Agriculture Today) began as a way to provide more opportunity and insight into the Agricultural industry to underrepresented high school girls in Ventura County, especially women of color.
The program has since expanded to include all school-age children in Ventura County as well as Santa Barbara, providing foundational knowledge on Agriculture during workshops, hands-on lessons, and field trips to local farms.
SEEAG programs also expand to The Youth Wellness Initiative, which educates, inspires, and empowers kids to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farm Lab brings kids directly to farms, building awareness of and appreciation for agriculture from farm to consumption. SBC & Farm Day educates the community about the farm origins of their food in order to cultivate informed citizens and agricultural ambassadors.
The S.T.E.M. Career Pathways in Agriculture is designed to open students’ eyes to these opportunities and help them explore the ever-evolving world of agriculture. By getting involved in this dynamic field, students can make a real difference and help shape the future of agriculture. Join us on this journey of discovery and innovation!
To learn more about S.T.E.M., visit https://www.seeag.org/stem
Join the Double Your Impact Challenge
Gills Onions is a long-time supporter of SEEAG’s agricultural education programming.
“SEEAg does a really good job with their S.T.E.M. program. Our Gills team enjoyed welcoming these students to our facility and showing them firsthand what we do as a business in their community,” said Steve Gill, Gills Onions president and SEEAG board member. “We believe in SEEAg’s mission in educating students about the origins of their food, so they feel empowered with that knowledge as a consumer.”
Join Gills Onions donation match program in May for the “Gill’s Onions Double Your Impact Challenge” where Gills Onions will match all donations up to $15,000 for every dollar donated to Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) as part of SEEAG’s annual Double Your Impact Challenge.
For more information or to donate, visit www.seeag.org/doubleyourimpact.
Ready to try onions grown “The Gills Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.