Huw Richard-Price’s self-possession is well beyond his years. You can tell that he knows what he wants to do and how he’s going to get it done – that’s not something that you often come across in an 18 year old. But Huw’s had a vision of what he wanted to do with his life from a young age. Growing up on an 11 acre small holding with chickens and ducks, wildflower meadows and a big orchard, he loved gardening and the connection to nature that he got from it. His father taught him the ropes of growing plants and he was proficient enough by the age of eleven to make £100 off of fruit cuttings he had pruned, at a Denmark Farm open day. He’s always felt he was “an entrepreneur at heart.”
Not long after his success at Denmark Farm, Huw was inspired by a friend who set-up a YouTube channel for his online gaming and got 200 hits, so Huw set-up his own channel on gardening much to the bemusement of his friends. Within a week, he had more than surpassed his friend’s meagre viewings, with his hits climbing above 1000. The next week that doubled. In a fit of jealousy, his friend deleted his gaming channel. One of Huw’s early videos on propagating roses from cuttings, now has over half a million views.
In the intervening years, Huw’s Youtube channel, Huw’s Nursery,has become something of a sensation in gardening circles – it’s had 7. 8 million views. For a young boy in the quiet hills near Lampeter in rural west Wales that’s quite remarkable. He’s now made 340 films and has 43,000 subscribers to his channel. The internet has really given Huw a voice and allowed him to reach far and wide – some 50% of his viewers are from the US and he’s had views from every country in the world, including one in North Korea. His latest film, ‘How to Grow Peas in 60 Seconds’, went viral garnering over 2.8 million views on Facebook in its first week. Huw has an earnest charm in his videos, as he delivers his tips and tricks of growing. He wants growing to be easy for people.
His love of the environment grew a deep engagement with sustainability and growing in ways that support ecosystems and the environment. His gardening pulled him ever deeper into growing food and he began to focus more on this is his tutorials, running a series of videos on ‘Growing Organic Produce Inexpensively’ wanting to spread the message of how important sustainable food production and good healthy food is. He’s concerned that people have lost their connection to food and believes that growing food can bring them back to this. It’s a simple message and the power of his conviction is compelling.
In his sixth form college, Huw has started a school vegetable garden where he does planting sessions with fellow pupils, teaching them how to grow food. Huw is amazed at how a tiny seed transforms into a beautiful vegetable that can feed you. He wants other young people to marvel at this and connect to their food and where it comes from, and most importantly to realise how long it takes to grow. Huw is disappointed that schools don’t do more to educate young people about the environment and the issues facing the world with climate change taking hold. He is hugely critical of the lack of emphasis on cooking in the curriculum as well – Huw feels that “cooking is so important, growing is so important, creating things with your hands is so important.” Schools tell pupils that that algebra is something they must know, but they don’t teach them to cook when they eat three times a day. He also talks a good line on what’s wrong with capitalism and how we need to modernise our education system.
He has a plan now as he heads into his sixth form A-levels. He’s decided not to go to university, but instead to cut his own path, having decided that this is what he wants to do. “The most important thing,” Huw says, “is doing something you love.” He wants to learn more about permaculture and is taking time to do a design course in it, when he’s finished school. He’s also starting a local food initiative to put communities in better touch with sources of local food, and making more films about this to motivate people to eat more local food. “Food is [our] most important connection to creating communities,” Huw says.
In 2016 he won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for his thinking around the local food initiative that he’s developing. He’s also won a ‘Do It’ award from UnLtd which supports entrepreneurs making a social impact, giving him further funds to expand and develop his activities. Huw wants to run more in-depth courses on growing that might provide him an income stream – though he stressed the importance of keeping them affordable. He also shyly admits to hoping that his films might open up doors to wider audiences, perhaps presenting on television. “More than anything,” he says, “I just want people to get out there and grow food.”
Photographs: Local Food Initiative