Me & My Job - Paolo Arrigo, director, Seeds of Italy

Paolo Arrigo, director, Seeds of Italy - image: Seeds of Italy
Paolo Arrigo, director, Seeds of Italy - image: Seeds of Italy

How did you get into horticulture? Although not formally trained, I was brought up the Italian way - in the garden, in the kitchen and at the table. Veg growing is part of who I am and food is my absolute passion. In Britain, growing food is considered as gardening. But in Italy, it is considered exactly what it is - food.

What does your typical day involve? As a father of two very young children, life involves a lot of running around before you even consider the pressures of work. The one thing I actually don't have is a typical day. I'm lucky as I do a lot of allotment talks, public speaking on stage, travelling to visit clients, book signings, shows, meeting customers and running the business - plus scouts, swimming, school meetings, birthday parties and all the other things children-related.

What is the best part of your job? I love to meet people, so doing shows and promotions. I learn as much from talking to others as they can from me. My dad always said to listen to others because they always know something you don't - good advice.

And the worst? People telling me Italian seeds won't grow here in the UK without realising how much seed is imported from Asia, Africa and America. They are also forgetting that Italy is 74 per cent mountain with temperatures this year of -47 degsC.

How do you wind down after a hard day? I go home and spend some time with the family. Children are just a joy and being Italian, the family is in first position with food in second. Family and good food go hand-in-hand with Italians and you don't need loads of money to enjoy either.

What does the future hold? I'd love to do some TV given my background crosses both food and gardening, especially as veg growing is so much at the forefront right now.

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