Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thoughts on the Triscuit Home Farming Movement

Down in Chicago, Mr Brown Thumb has been blogging lately with some (justified!) excitement about the latest marketing coup from the Triscuits people:  FREE SEEDS

(You already know how much I love the Triscuits people from the party ads that made us literally roll around on the floor with  laughter last year)

It’s not just about FREE SEEDS, though… it’s an entire HOME FARMING MOVEMENT, built around the premise that if you buy Triscuits, you get a free packet of basil seeds to start you on your happy way down the path to home farming.

I like the idea of people growing stuff.  On the other hand, a SINGLE packet of free seeds, of one variety, does not a revolution make.  Which is basically what I said in my (unapologetically cynical) comments:

I've been thinking about this promo since your first post and I had to respond - and I even signed up for this dumb ChicagoNow account to do it!  (it asks for a zip code:  I made one up)

You know I love all things growing, and I'm sure I would be the first to grab one of these boxes if I spotted one up here north of the border. 

I do believe some people, a few people (us suckers with young kids, probably!), may see the seeds in the cracker box, rustle up a pot with soil and plant them, just for fun.  Maybe a few will actually end up with basil or dill plants.  Good for them!

But Nabisco knows that the majority of people buying the package are doing it to get CRACKERS, not seeds.  Many live in apartments, townhouses, seniors' residences, or are just going to scarf down the crackers in the car or at work.

I don't believe the green revolution (as seen in the nice photos of pleasant people of multiple races tending a sunny plot together) will never stem from the crackers IN the box.  No "home farm" ever began with a freebie packet of basil.

Like you pointed out, the true basil aficionados are not waiting for their cracker company to send them free seed; they already went out back in March and bought five obscure varieties (or ordered seed and grew five obscure varieties).

So a promo that basically costs Nabisco NO money (seeds?  practically FREE!) paints Triscuits as the "green" (shudder) cracker, in an age where every product needs to be the greenest in its category.  Are the crackers inside still encased in excess air, plastic, cardboard?  Are the crackers produced in a way that exploits the land and our bodies?

Just like the home "energy saving" movement will not save a world where corporations are the biggest polluters, the "home farming" movement will not necessarily redeem the bad practices of companies such as Nabisco.

All of which aside... I'd probably still buy this package if we had it here.  Guess I'm a gardener first and environmentalist second:  I'm a sucker for anything green and growing and ALIVE.  Keep us posted on how the seeds do!

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