Camden, N.J., March 20, 2009 – For the first time in its more-than-100-year history, Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) is making available to the American public specially cultivated seeds used to grow tomatoes for its iconic Campbell’s® Tomato soup. The effort is part of Campbell’s goal to grow more than one billion tomatoes across the country and to support American agriculture.
Campbell also is teaming up with the National FFA Organization and Urban Farming Inc., each of which will use the special seeds to help create five community gardens in urban communities.
Through June 21 (or while supplies last), each household that purchases any variety Campbell’s condensed soup and enters the code on the can at HelpGrowYourSoup.com can request a free packet of Campbell’s tomato seeds to plant in their own backyards and windowsills. With each request, Campbell will donate the seeds being used to plant community gardens and achieve the one-billion-tomato goal.
TV personality and gardening guru Danny Seo is helping to kick off the spring planting spree. He says the timing couldn’t be better for Campbell to implement such an initiative.
“There is a huge trend right now of people seeking to grow their own food in their own gardens, because it’s cost effective, environmentally friendly and ultimately produces delicious, fresh-tasting ingredients,” said Seo. “What’s exciting about using
Campbell’s seeds is that people will be able to grow a very special tomato that goes into America’s favorite tomato soup – and get those seeds for free!”
The Seeds of an Icon
Introduced in 1897, Campbell’s Tomato soup was the first condensed soup in the company’s history and to this day remains an American favorite. It is one of the company’s top-selling soups and is eaten by more than 25 million people at least once a week. In fact, pop culture artist Andy Warhol ate tomato soup for lunch for more than 20 years, inspiring him to create his famous Campbell’s Tomato soup painting.
The tomato seeds themselves also have a rich heritage. Campbell began growing tomatoes from its own seeds on New Jersey farms during in the 1930s. Those “Jersey” tomatoes were renowned for their rich taste and texture, so much so, that when truckloads were delivered to the Campbell facility in Camden, city residents followed and picked up fallen tomatoes from the streets.
As part of the Help Grow Your Soup™ program, Campbell also will celebrate the tomato on its can. For a limited time, on selected cans, the image of a real tomato will replace the red color band on the front of the iconic Campbell’s label. Campbell also plans to support the program with print advertising and in-store promotional materials, including special bins, shelving systems and cards.
“Campbell’s Tomato soup holds a special place in American culture and American cupboards because it’s a food people know is made from goodness,” said Eric Christianson, Business Director for Campbell’s condensed soups. “Through our Help Grow Your Soup initiative, we are reminding people about the special care and pride that goes into cultivating the farm-grown ingredients in our soups by connecting them to the seeds, which is where it all starts.”
Campbell is working with the National FFA Organization, which is dedicated to developing future leaders through agricultural education, and Urban Farming, a non-profit organization that turns unused land in urban areas into sustainable food sources, to build gardens in local communities including New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and near Campbell’s headquarters in Camden, N.J.
Seo will help Campbell kick off the initiative by creating an Urban Farming Food Chain Edible Wall™ in New York City on April 16. The gardens will be planted and maintained by members of FFA and Urban Farming, and all vegetables harvested from the gardens will be given to the members of the community.
Since its founding in 1869, Campbell also has strived to support American agriculture. The company has worked with generations of farmers and, whenever possible, uses ingredients from farmers located within 100 miles of its facilities, enabling it to use higher-quality, fresh ingredients, reduce the environmental impacts associated with transportation, and support the economies of local farming communities.
The National FFA Organization was founded in 1928 as the Future Farmers of America in support of agricultural education in schools around the country. FFA prepares its members for more than 300 careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture and has many educational programs in place to foster leaders who will make sure our natural resources are wisely used. Today FFA is powered by more than half a million members, 7,300 chapters in schools and 1,000 active alumni affiliates across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Urban Farming is an international non-profit organization that plants food on unused land and space such as rooftops, walls, in planters at malls, sidewalk cafes and school campuses to help eradicate hunger by establishing an abundance of healthy food for people in need while greening the environment, educating youth, adults and seniors and providing a sustainable system to uplift communities. Urban Farming is now in 14 cities and five countries including Jamaica, Canada and England and offers educational opportunities in nutrition, environmental justice and entrepreneurship.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands including “Campbell’s,” “Pepperidge Farm,” “Arnott’s” and “V8.” For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website at www.campbellsoup.com.