AuSome GrowSome aims to not just grow the high quality green produce using the innovative technology, but also the skills, independence, confidence of underserved community through its training and services. We are dedicated and passionate team who strive to make a difference in the autism community as well as providing local produce
Dr Anita Yakkundi
Anita is a Scientist, educator and social entrepreneur. Her initial training is of a molecular therapeutics scientist (20 y) after having completed PhD in microbiology in 1996 she worked at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University in cancer sciences. As an autism mum she increasingly experienced the gaps in opportunities for her daughter and family and therefore retrained to Behaviour analyst with the purpose of working in social sciences and autism. She completed MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis from Queen’s University Belfast in 2015 and was a recipient of a Marie Curie-Cofund fellowship (2016-2018), for research in assistive technology for Autism and Intellectual disability. The fellowship gave her an opportunity to make connections and develop the idea for AuSome GrowSome. Subsequently, she completed the 6 week, Ulsterbank pre-accelerator program that involved online content and won the Ulsterbank pitch award and mentoring support through the Go Social programme for social enterprises. She subsequently received the ‘Do It’ award from UnLtd towards the embryonic phase of the business. She is currently working with CAFRE as knowledge provider to run some trials and optimise cultivation for one type of salad and microgreens over the next 4 months through Innovation Voucher.
From a young age I had been interested in gardening, plants and the natural world. I tested the water of several different career paths before I embarked on studying Horticulture, Conservation and then Arboriculture at different Universities and Colleges. I still strive to find an understanding of the natural world and reflect on my childhood in rural Derbyshire, England. I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, the Arboricultural Association and the Institute of Chartered Foresters. In 2014 I was Second Place in the Prince of Wales Perpetual Challenge Trophy for Sustainable Horticulture competition, ran by The Worshipful Company of Gardeners. I’ve worked at one of the top ten gardens in the world, as a Head Gardener and helped pass my knowledge on to a new generation. It’s a real pleasure to be involved with Ausome Growsome, a project which will change people’s lives and improve their experiences
Support and Advice
Dr Brona McDowell, Physiotherapist advocate for inclusive and translational learning.
From a young age I have had a keen interest in gardening, and currently enjoy maintaining a varied garden, and growing my own herbs for the kitchen.
When I heard of Anita’s exciting business proposal I was keen to get involved. I have worked as a physiotherapist caring for children with physical and learning disabilities for many years, and understand many of the difficulties these young people encounter; so the idea of integrating an exciting innovative business like hydroponics, with training prospects for young people who are compromised in their abilities, seemed like a fantastic idea!
It is a project that has the potential of making real change to people’s lives and improving their quality of life.
Dr Shirish Yakkundi
Co-Director, Scientist, Consultant.
Scientific project management and operations consultant for start ups. Shirish is currently providing full time consultancy to an Occular drug delivery start up and also volunteers to provide his expertise to AuSome GrowSome.
Dr Shirish Yakkundi and Dr Anita Yakkundi are parents of young adult with autism and advocates for people with communication difficulties and autism. They have extensive experience in autism due to their personal connection and have the passion to help those affected by autism and affected difficulties.
We are expanding our team and welcome representation from people who share our vision and passion