Updated: Feb 1
Committed to raising awareness of sustainable urban farming while providing vulnerable communities access to healthy food.
“It shouldn’t be a privilege to have access to healthy food.” - Yemi Amu
Yemi Amu, originally from Nigeria, started Oko farms, NYC’s first and only publicly accessible out door aquaponics farm and education center. Passionate about merging education and environmental stewardship, Yemi is dedicated to increasing food security and promoting food cultivation practices. Oko Farms' mission is to practice and promote aquaponics as a sustainable farming method that mitigates the impact of climate change, saves water, and increases food security for New York City. By spreading the knowledge required to practice aquaponics farming, her organization educates children and adults of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Her goal is to continue this essential work to provide healthy, tasty and fair food to vulnerable communities in New York City.
Welcome Yemi to Chefs for Impact!
By Yemi Amu as told to Chefs for Impact
What brought you to become a farmer?
“I’ve always wanted to farm but I didn’t think I could do it as a profession. I started as culinary and nutrition educator where I realized that for a lot of my clients, coming from low income household, healthy food was seen as a special thing. Where I come from - Nigeria - poor people eat vegetables. There is nothing special about it, it’s common and everyone can eat it. Here, in the US it’s different. So, I started wondering how I could make it feel normal to them? Together with the social workers I work with, we thought gardening would be a great way to connect these people to food. By learning how to grow produce, it would demystify their perception. I started growing food because I wanted to teach my clients how to do it for themselves. “
What do you do with the food you grow at Oko Farms?
“We sell the majority of the produce at the farm and at the farmers market. We do food donations and we incorporate some into our culinary workshops.”
How do you use your experience to mentor the new generation?