Ezinne Uzo-OkoroMastercard Foundation & Jacobs Foundation 2019 - 2021
- PhD, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
Ezinne’s venture, Terraformers, aims to grow fresh food everywhere, starting with Lagos, Nigeria. There are two kinds of people in Lagos. Those who can afford fresh and healthy produce for their families and those who cannot. Terraformers works to connect these two kinds of people together. One group has the space, desire and resources to eat more nutritious produce so Terraforners trains the other group to build productive and networked backyard gardening. Resilient gardening on poor soils also provides research data for understanding how to grow food in space. Thus, after 16 years spent contributing to space missions, Ezinne developed an entrepreneurial approach, which uses food to grow the local economy by deploying an online platform, Terraformers.com. Terraformers helps anyone with a black thumb grow affordable and fresh produce at home through easy access to local garden experts. Her sights are set on providing economic opportunity for gardeners and creating sustainable diets for residents in urban communities in Lagos. 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 60 spaceflight programs in a 16-year career and last served as the Chief of the Small Spacecraft Mission Design Division. When she is not working on food systems, she explores the potential of robotic assembly of small satellites in space. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at MIT.back