'Seeds always sell better in a crisis': The business selling a Brexit vegetable survival kit

  • In our Drastically Brexit series, we look at some of the unusual ways people are preparing for the UK leaving the EU at the end of March.

"Seeds...through time, have always sold better in a crisis", says Paolo Arrigo.

It was that belief, coupled with what he saw was a 'gap in the market', which inspired the owner of London-based Franchi Seeds to create a 'Brexit Vegetable Growing Survival Kit'.

"We saw on social media that there had been a big rise in [Brexit] 'preppers' websites", Paolo said.

"I didn't even know what a 'prepper' was until about a month ago and it seemed to me there was a gap in the market, that there was a big demand for people who wanted to grow their own."

Each kit contains 12 different varieties to sow over the year including popular vegetables like carrots, broccoli and spinach.

Paolo never expected Brexit to be a good time to grow his business.

"We've literally sold hundreds of them, they are flying out," Paolo said.

Franchi Seeds have sold hundreds of their kits since January. Credit: ITV News

"We've literally sold hundreds of them, they are flying out," Paolo said.

A single tweet led to a flood of orders - and praise from regular customers like Sonia Moore who agrees that the kits have come at the right time.

Sonia runs a garden design service where she has noticed more and more clients have requested vegetable patches.

She claimed: "What's been fascinating is over the last few years I've done quite a few garden makeovers and redesigns, but in the last 12 months all the jobs that have come in have requested flower borders being removed and being replaced with vegetable plots."

Franchi Seeds sell carefully selected varieties from Italy which they hope will still be available after Brexit.

March falls within the time of year when the UK relies heavily on imported fruit and vegetables. Credit: ITV News

In January, supermarkets Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's signed a letter to the government expressing their concern popular fruit and vegetables are often out of season in the UK.

They warned that in March around 90% of lettuces, 80% of tomatoes and 70% of soft fruit comes from the EU.

Around 30% of food consumed in the UK comes from the EU so Franchi Seeds knew that they could tap into 'the hungry months'.

For £21.99 per kit, Paolo hopes that families will be encouraged to grow vegetables all year around regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

He said: "Growing your own is a completely natural way for people to be able to grow some food for their family, healthy food that they can just go into their garden, go to the container on their balcony and just cut and harvest."

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