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The 233rd recipient is Ayo Boykin of E-I-E-AYO URBAN FARM LLC @the_microgreen_queen in Columbus, Ohio.

Ayo writes, “My name is Ayo (pronounced I-yo) and I am the CEO of E-I-E-AYO URBAN FARM LLC. I am especially cognizant of how important mental health is - I don't just grow MICROGREENS, I grow MINDS as a school counselor. Much of my counseling career has involved providing mental health support to families in crisis. High quality produce and high quality healthcare

seldom makes its way to the families with the least. A person can't be healthy spiritually, physically or mentally if they are hungry or in a state of lack. You can't heal if your body isn't nourished.

My great grandmother Carrie Lee Peels is my farming inspiration. She was a sharecropper that picked tobacco ("tobacc-ie" as she called it) during a time in our nation's history when black people were no more than chattel. She moved her family from Augusta, Georgia to the urban jungle that is Queens, New York (my hometown). My family was a part of the great migration North that many black people took to escape the oppression in the deep south. She turned her backyard into a homestead that fed her family and the neighborhood. I watched her, as a little girl, canning and preserving the bounty that she grew from her hands. I honor her spirit each time I grow my own bounty.

Farming to me represents taking agency over my life. Farming is my peace, it feeds my soul, my belly and my community. My business tagline is... GROW- HARVEST -NOURISH- REPEAT. And that is EXACTLY what I will continue to do.”


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