“When you’re a farmer you’re everything: You’re a vet. You’re a botanist. You’re a plumber. You’re an electrician.”
Yemi Amu grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She is the founder and director of Oko Farms, the first publicly accessible outdoor aquaponics farm in New York City. Yemi started Oko Farms in 2013 as a means to connect with surrounding communities and provide healthier alternatives to food consumption. The farm intends to promote environmental awareness. Their team also provides educational programs and resources to combat scarcity and food deserts.
Yemi is an entrepreneur and humanitarian that sees the value in community work. As she grows, she hopes to help others see what is possible and also achieve a growth mindset. The lessons she learns are meant to be passed down to others after her. She currently holds a master’s degree in Health and Nutrition Education from Teacher’s College – Columbia University. In 2016, Hunter College Food Policy Center awarded her as the Rising Star in NYC Food Policy Award. She often advises people that the key to success is to “approach the work from a place of joy and curiosity.” Allowing yourself to be surprised by your own work can create limitless possibilities.
Just like in agriculture, big things take time to develop before they can bloom. Oko Farms started in a small 2500-square foot lot sandwiched between two buildings in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Since then, the company has grown to create and open 20 other spaces throughout New York City. Currently, Oko Farms is continuing its workshops and events via webinars so that people can still learn about the outdoors while staying inside.