How This Single Mom On Food Stamps Became A Million Dollar CEO And Inspired Her Young Entrepreneurial Daughter

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 17, 2019

Ashley Tyrner has had one of the most compelling entrepreneurial journeys. Tyrner used to live on food stamps and now she is a million dollar CEO. In the process of building herself up, Tyrner also inspired her eight-year-old daughter Harlow to launch a business of her own. Ashley’s business is called Farmbox Direct and Harlow’s business is called Harlow’s Harvest.

Farmbox Direct has a goal of helping eradicate the food desert problem America faces. And Farmbox Direct does this by providing all people with access to organic food while positively disrupting the food policy space.

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During a difficult time in her personal life, Tyrner was left in financial distress so she signed up for government assistance programs including food stamps. This program gave her $8 per day to live off of — which forced her to learn how to hustle.

Eventually, she was able to save up enough to get off of government assistance, but she still had to balance being a single mother and a busy work schedule. And as a busy working mom in New York City, she did not have much time to make a weekly trip to the local farmer’s market in order to pick up fresh produce. This is when she realized a need for a service that delivers fresh produce to the doors of customers.

“I had a really hard time having accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables that were great, organic produce,” Tyrner said in an interview with TODAY’s Jill Martin. “And it turns out, across the country, I’m not the only person with this problem.”

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Essentially Farmbox Direct is filling a voice in the clean food industry as the company is now a multi-million dollar revenue-generating business. And Sam Kass — who is a former White House Chef and Senior Policy Adviser to Michelle Obama — is a member of the Farmbox Direct team. Plus she has a partnership in place with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.

In 2014, Tyrner left her job and went full-time on Farmbox from the ground up. She even delivered many of the items herself to people’s homes. Originally, the delivery program was available in New York City and Brooklyn. There was a point where she was driving her 3-year-old daughter her around at 11 PM at night to delivery Farmboxes.

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Now Farmbox Direct has more than 10,000 customers and boxes are being shipped all over the country. Farmbox customers can select from nine different Farmboxes in three different sizes with prices starting at $44. This will give customers access to a large selection of natural fruits and vegetables. Plus there are boxes curated for people who enjoy green juices.

Farmbox Direct also supports local farmers. So the contents of the boxes will depend on what is in season locally. Customers can make up to 5 substitutions per box.

Harlow Tyrner is also following in her mom’s footsteps. She is a self-proclaimed vegan that was inspired by her mom for teaching other kids about the importance of nutrition in an educational format. Harlow’s Harvest offers a monthly subscription box that makes teaching kids how to prepare recipes in the kitchen much easier. The STEM-influenced boxes come with recipe cards, a science project, and comprehensive information about the dish that they are making. Plus there is an online game that kids can play that are linked to the theme of the month.

Some of the upcoming themes include Earth Day and Under the Sea — which teaches kids the importance of recycling and leaving a green footprint. And through cooking the recipes, the kids gain practice in experimenting with food, calculating the costs, and working on fractions by measuring.

Photo Credit: Ashley Tyrner via LinkedIn