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Sunnyside community farm founder wins national entrepreneurship award

Ivy Lawrence-Walls, the founder of Ivy Leaf Farms, will be given $15,000 toward her mission to bring healthy and sustainable food options to Sunnyside.
Credit: Photo Credit: Ivy Lawrence-Wells/Ivy Leaf Farms

HOUSTON — A Houston community farmer is having her day in the sun after winning a national entrepreneurship award.

Official Black Wall Street has named Ivy Lawrence-Walls, the founder of Ivy Leaf Farms in Sunnyside, its 2021 Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Besides the title, she will be given $15,000 in equity-free funding for her organization.

Walls started the community farm in Sunnyside, one of the city's oldest predominately Black neighborhoods, to bring residents healthy and sustainable food sources.

"It’s not uncommon for residents to find rotting fruit and vegetables on the shelves at the local grocery store," she is quoted on the Ivy Leaf Farms website.

"This gives us no choice but to travel outside of our own community to find healthy foods. With limited time and resources this becomes an even more difficult feat."

Credit: Photo credit: Ivy Lawrence-Walls/Ivy Leaf Farms

Walls and her business partner Jeremy Peaches are currently in the final stretch of opening a fresh foods grocery store, Fresh Houwse Grocery, in Sunnyside. The neighborhood is a recognized food desert, meaning residents have limited access to fresh produce.

The duo has been raising money for the store through donations and profits from Black Farmer Box, which connects Black farmers directly with local consumers.

They plan to begin building the grocery store in December, Walls said.

Credit: Official Black Wall Street

Walls is one of three Black entrepreneurs to receive a Official Black Wall Street award this year. Keewa Nurullah of Kido and Makeda Ricketts of PinkThink were also recognized.

Award winners were peer-selected through a digital voting platform after an open call for nominations and vetting by a panel of judges, according to a release.

Official Black Wall Street is one of the largest digital platforms dedicated to connecting consumers with Black-owned businesses across all industries.

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