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Green Peas Leading the Way to a Greener Future

27th July 2018

The Archbishop of York's Official Visit to the UK's Greenest Factory

On 26th July 2018 the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu joined Swaythorpe Growers, a co-operative of over 40 family farms based in East Yorkshire, GWE Biogas, a local green energy company, and d’Arta, a top European frozen food company, to celebrate the businesses joint venture in producing the UK’s greenest food processing and freezing plant. At a time when, more than ever, the UK needs to focus on sustainability and the environment, this ambitious and innovative project has resulted in a pioneering new site that is fuelled entirely by sustainable renewable energy – the UK’s first carbon neutral factory.

The new business will trade by the name of Yorkshire Greens, processing the vining peas grown on the Yorkshire Wolds by Swaythorpe Growers, who currently retail their produce under the brand Yorkshire Peas. As well as generating more than 25 new jobs across the site, the £20million investment will create a brighter future by securing a greater return for the local growers of the new factory.

Tom Megginson, Director of GWE Biogas commented “the Yorkshire Greens’ plant has the potential to be one of the most sustainable food businesses in Britain”. He continues, “The co-location of our respective plants is absolutely necessary, so that we can supply Yorkshire Greens with electricity and heat, and in turn they can pump their dirty water back to us”. GWE Biogas is one of the foremost producers of ‘green power’ from unavoidable food waste in the UK. By means of anaerobic digestion, GWE Biogas will also convert any vegetable waste from the processing plant into renewable energy.

Tim Rymer, Chairman of Swaythorpe Growers, has said “This is an exciting and ambitious project that will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of our Yorkshire grown frozen peas, as well as dramatically reducing food miles, as the facility is in the heart of our growing area. This means we’ll decrease the travel time from field to factory even further, ensuring we capture the quality of the peas for our customers. As farmers we respect and understand the importance of looking after the land, so building a factory fuelled entirely by unavoidable food waste makes a great deal of common sense”.

The Archbishop of York said, “I am looking forward to visiting the new Yorkshire Greens pea processing plant. This is a fantastic project processing Yorkshire’s finest peas in a truly sustainable way using renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint. I highly commend the vision and planning that has gone into the building of this facility. I met with a group of pea viners during my Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing across the Diocese of York so it is with great joy that I am returning at the height of the harvesting season to see them in action!”

The day concluded with the Archbishop joining guests and growers on a full tour of the new site, showing him the whole process – from field to freezer, ahead of the official opening in Spring 2019.

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