Ivy Walls always loved gardening and still remembers asking her parents to grow vegetables growing up.
But when she graduated from Prairie View A&M with a biology degree, she went to work for the CDC as an infection preventionist. She later moved to one of the medical systems in Houston, and moved in to the Sunnyside neighborhood.
As Ivy got to know her neighbors, she quickly realized the area was a food desert. A food desert is a region where families have limited access to healthy, affordable food. Ivy noticed all of the high caloric food options were made worse by the fact that 21 percent of Sunnyside residents don't have a vehicle.
She started Ivy Leaf Farms within a few months, passing out vegetables to friends and neighbors during the pandemic. The business quickly grew, and on her first day as a full-time farmer, Ivy learned she had won a joint $10,000 grant from Beyoncé and the NAACP.
Ivy said the produce they grow is the mission, not the product. She hopes Ivy Leaf Farms can expand and one day be a blueprint for bringing fresh food and products into other food deserts.