MATTHEWS — Boredom during quarantine and watching a lot of ABC’s “Shark Tank” turned out to be the perfect inspiration for Adhvik Pradeep to start his own business. At first, the 9-year-old considered a lemonade stand, but he eventually decided to lean into his love of gardening.
“I get to be outside and with the plants,” he said. “It makes me feel calm because all I hear is the birds.”
Adhvik is a fourth-grader at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy but on Facebook he’s known as “The Little Farmer.” Since the spring, he has been growing his own fruits, vegetables and plants to sell at a stand he set up his Matthews neighborhood.
He started with just mint, chilies and tomatoes, but has since expanded to peaches, bananas, apples, jalapeños, green peppers, potatoes, okra, basil, beans, cucumbers, sunflowers and other produce. In the fall, he plans to have squash, cauliflower and pumpkins.
There are also “star plants,” or featured plants, which Adhvik pushes to promote. The star plants at his next sale on Aug. 9 will be salad trays with spinach and arugula.
To keep track of his plants, Adhvik upcycles sticks he finds along a nearby greenway into tags. He shaves down the wood, writes the names of the plants and sticks them into the soil. He also sells the tags at his stand.
“It’s biodegradable because it’s wood,” Adhvik said. “You don’t have to use plastic.”
Adhvik is responsible for more than just growing the produce. He also keeps track of the financial side of his business in an accounting book. He learned about bookkeeping from his grandmother, who used to be an accountant in India.
Ten percent of every sale goes to the No Kid Hungry North Carolina, a nonprofit working to end child hunger by connecting kids to under-utilized federal nutrition programs like school breakfast, summer meals and after-school meals. Another portion goes toward Adhvik’s mom for her original investment of seeds, but he said he has already paid that off. Twenty-five percent is put into savings and the rest goes back into the business to buy seeds, soil and other supplies. Adhvik also sets some of his profit aside to buy Pokemon cards.
In an attempt to diversify his business, Adhvik invites and encourages other kid entrepreneurs to sell with him. As a result, a handful of friends and kids from the neighborhood have started growing their own produce. Others sell baked goods, drinks and handmade items.
Adhvik said he’s learned a lot about running his own business and the importance of giving back to the community.
“Have a business subject you care about so you can be passionate about it and include other people’s ideas if you have coworkers,” he said.
He’s also gained gardening skills from his mom, like tilling the land and constituent watering.
“If you love your plants and care for your plants, they’ll grow better,” Adhvik said.
Want to go?
The next sale is Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. Visit The Little Farmer on Facebook for location and details.