Twelve-year-old Te Awamutu Intermediate student, Lucas Sloan, has been praised by the community for his gardening prowess and business initiative.
Last week Lucas enlisted the help of his Mum, Racheal Simmonds, to make a Facebook post advertising the plants he had grown and is now planning on selling.
The post, made in the Te Awamutu Region Community Grapevine Facebook group, received an overwhelming amount of support from community members.
“Awesome job!!! Keep up the great work and initiative” is just one of over a hundred similar comments made on the post.
Lucas has been growing different varieties of tomatoes and flowers for the past 8 weeks. Right now, he has over 150 tomato seedlings to sell. Lucas has even cut down bamboo shoots to sell as stakes alongside his tomato plants.
Lucas began helping his Mum in garden three years ago; by planting seeds, cleaning pots, watering and fertilizing plants. When asked about his interest in gardening, Lucas said, “it’s relaxing and I get to do it with my Mum.”
“Family and friends have tomatoes coming out of their ears, they don’t want anymore” Racheal said.
Now, every six or so weeks, Lucas sets up a stall to sell the different produce he has helped to grow or make. He manages the stalls all by himself, including handling the money and even giving out gardening advice specific to the different plants he sells. Commentors of the Facebook post asked if they could pre-order plants but were told no, because Lucas enjoys running the stall too much. Plants that are not sold are regularly donated to the Te Awamutu Sharing Shed.
“He’s really professional in what he does, yeah, I’m proud of him” Racheal said
Earlier this year Lucas put $200 from his stall earnings towards a school ski trip, paying for nearly half of the trip. When travel restrictions ease, his family plans on going to Australia for a holiday, Lucas says he’ll be saving the money he earns from the stall for that too.
“He’s got a different mind to a lot of kids… He’s very good with the money he makes” Racheal said.
Lucas is in his last year of intermediate and starts college next year. Although gardening takes up a lot of Lucas’ time, he says a big part of why he does it is to help his Mum out. In actual fact, Lucas is a self-proclaimed “Dinosaur nerd” and wants to be a palaeontologist later in life.