"I feel empowered!"

- Yemi, Oko Farms

My name is Yemi Amu, and I am a farmer in Brooklyn, NYC. I specialize in raising freshwater fish, vegetables, flowers, and herbs in a recirculating system known as aquaponics. My journey with food production began in 2010 when I was working as a nutrition educator. I was inspired to empower my clients with both access to healthy food options and the skills to grow the food themselves. In the process, I fell deeply in love with the art, science, and magic of food production. I feel really lucky to have a job I absolutely love. It is often challenging but always rewarding.

Oko Farms - my aquaponics production and education company - was started in 2013, two years after I discovered this ancient growing technique that had been reinvented for the modern world. The mission behind my work at Oko Farms is to inspire a generation of food and environmental enthusiasts through urban farming. My 2,500 square foot outdoor aquaponics farm in Bushwick, Brooklyn contributes to increased access to local food in the community; facilitates conversation around sustainability; educates both youth and adults in food production; expands people's imagination of what food production looks like urban environment; and attracts the most beautiful pollinators.

The Kiva loan allows us to repair/replace broken infrastructure on the farm, expand our production, extend the growing season via a greenhouse, and extend our educational programming into the winter months.

Kiva is a great platform that holds great credibility with people. I was able to harness the support of my community who also help spread the word about my campaign on Kiva. People were willing to give both because they believe in my work and because Kiva is a trusted platform that makes a difference in people's lives. When I reached out to my community, I told them about not only how I plan to use the money to grow my business but also about the difference Kiva loans make in the lives of small businesses worldwide.

It is encouraging to have support from a non-traditional lender that creates a sense of community and invests in the success of their borrowers. I feel empowered going into the 2017 farming season knowing that I will be able to increase food production and expand our educational programming. I would like to thank the Kiva team for the support and enthusiasm they give to borrowers in the network. 


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About the author

Kathinka K. Nakstad

Kathinka moved to San Francisco to pursue her BBA degree, with a major in marketing. Being form Norway, she time to time misses the different seasons (especially winters with snow). One of her hobbies consists of finding a part of a city and explore it for a whole day. Checking out cool boutiques, and the best places to eat. Two of her favorite places to visit are Budapest and Vienna. No wonder her dream job would be to travel the world and write about the places she visits.