Farm company wins world competition
company based in a small, West Cornwall village has beaten
competitors from all over the world in 'the Oscars of
the vegetable growing industry'.
Southern England Farms (SEF), whose headquarters are at Leedstown,
has been awarded the top prize at the inaugural World Grower
Awards. The award is an endorsement of the company's
expansion, which is about to continue with a £3.5million
project supported by Objective One investment.
At the ceremony, held earlier this month (November) in Amsterdam,
SEF won the overall World Grower accolade following a unanimous
decision by judges from China, the Netherlands, Colombia and
The company, which earlier this year took the UK Vegetable
Grower of the Year title, beat competitors from all five continents.
The judges had been impressed with SEF's rapid development
from scratch over an 11 year period and its "commitment
and vision in growing into a powerful force in the vegetable
production industry in the UK".
SEF's managing director Greville Richards said: "The
company is over the moon. These are the Oscars of the vegetable
growing industry. SEF had already won the UK award earlier
this year which put it in the frame for the international
As well as producing and packing its own vegetables at Leedstown
the company has 22 local growers supplying it from all over
Cornwall. SEF employs up to 300 people across Cornwall and
supplies a number of major UK retailers as well as export
customers as far afield as Finland.
"Everything we do is in Cornwall," said
Mr Richards. He explained that the company tries to "stretch"
the Cornish growing season by starting crops earlier and finishing
later in order to offer customers a locally grown fresh product
for longer that has less food miles than imported vegetables.
SEF are also aware of their environmental responsibilities
which he felt had helped in the awards judging process. "Business
has been growing at a high rate in the last few years,"
This has also meant a sizeable increase in packhouse space
needed at Leedstown. To this end £489,000 of Objective
One EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund)
investment has been approved, with a matching amount from
Defra, for a £3.5 million expansion project. The investment
will mean the packhouse premises are due to quadruple in size.
David Rodda, Senior Agricultural Co-ordinator for the Cornwall
Agricultural Council Development Team, said: "The
vision of the Cornwall Agricultural Council is to transform
Cornwall into the UK's exemplar agri-food centre of
excellence, characterised by innovation, added value, competitive
advantage and environmental sustainability. In winning this
award SEF have displayed all these qualities and their continued
growth is evidence that although farming is often seen as
a traditional industry it can make a significant contribution
to the economic development of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The SEF team and the 22 growers they work with should be very
proud of this achievement."
For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media
Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership Office
on 01872 223439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in Southern England Farms through
the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439