Seeds of Italy asks world leaders to boost grow-your-own take up

More than 60 world leaders have been urged to create new laws to encourage grow-your-own produce at the Copenhagen climate change summit.

After successfully sending seeds to the prime ministers, presidents and King who attended April's G20 summit in London, Seeds of Italy has now sent out letters and seed packets to the key negotiators at the world's largest ever meeting on climate change.

The letters are designed to promote the importance of growing your own fruit and vegetables and call on leaders to bring in new laws to encourage it.

Seeds of Italy director Paulo Arrigo said the move was not just a marketing exercise. "We are building on our successes earlier this year," he added. "When (business partner) Andrew Collings said: 'I'm going to send out seeds to the G20,' I said: 'all right, good luck' because I didn't really understand the relevance. I don't think either of us expected the reaction we got."

The company received replies from 20 world leaders including personal letters from Gordon Brown and Prince Charles and letters from the offices of Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The firm has had its best ever year, building on the success of G20 with a 30 per cent increase in sales for 2009.

To continue the momentum it is due to release an Easy to Grow range of varieties in January. The range includes 12 different vegetables, each variety selected to make things as easy as possible for the first-time gardener.

Arrigo said the company was hoping to capitalise on the changing demographics of vegetable growers because the company's regular contact with the public through food and flower shows had made it realise that there is still a lot of potential to attract new people to the grow-your-own market.

"If you look at an allotment now, a lot has changed. You have yummy mummies, young families and even young people out there. I had a guy with a Mohican and a lip ring come to my stand the other day to talk about growing vegetables."

Arrigo said the range of seeds available in garden centres could overwhelm some customers who are put off by the jargon of more traditional seed ranges.

Seeds of Italy's Easy to Grow range is designed with simple instructions and the point-of-sale material will focus on attracting customers to a website for more information on how to get the best results, he explained.

Arrigo added that he was determined to entice the "Facebook generation" into gardening.


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