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MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs

The Legatum Center supports entrepreneurs all around the world through the fellowship, seed grant, Zambezi Prize and Open Mic programs.

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Ezinne Uzo-Okoro

Mastercard Foundation 2019 - 2020
From:
Nigeria
Sector:
Agriculture
Location:
Nigeria
Degree:
MBA, Sloan School of Management

Ezinne Uzo-Okoro’s venture, Terraformers, wants to grow fresh food everywhere. People want to be healthier. Others are just hungry and need to be fed. Most people have the space, desire and resources to eat more nutritious food at low cost through productive and networked backyard gardening. Resilient gardening on poor soils also provides research data for understanding how to grow food in space. Thus, after 15 years spent contributing to space missions, Ezinne has developed an entrepreneurial approach, which uses food to grow the local economy, by deploying an online platform, Terraformers.com, to help anyone with a black thumb grow affordable and fresh produce at home through easy access to local garden experts.

Ezinne’s sights are set on providing economic opportunity for gardeners and creating sustainable diets through the reintroduction of self-sufficiency in urban communities in Lagos, Nigeria. The networked backyard gardens are within a 20-mile radius to encourage produce sharing and donations in the community. Her vision for Terraformers is to normalize backyard gardening and provide insights on how to grow food in extreme environments, which could have space-based applications.

Ezinne is a seasoned NASA engineer, who has contributed to over six large spacecraft missions and last served as the Chief of the Small Spacecraft Mission Design Division. When she is not working on food systems, she explores the robotic assembly of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit. She is currently an MIT Media Lab graduate student.

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