Teenager aims to carry on his grandfather’s gardening legacy with app

Entrepreneur Jones Mays II is on a mission to integrate the use of technology and help improve the agriculture of communities around the world.

Mays II, 17, is a senior student at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas, and successfully developed and founded an app using both his passions for gardening and technology.

The inspiration for this development came from Mays II’s grandfather, Gerry Gentrywho led a community garden in his hometown of Mississippi.

“My family on my mother’s side is from Tunica, Mississippi. Every summer, I remember my mother sending me and my grandfather to help run his yard and community garden,” Mays II said. “It’s the most distinctive thing I can remember.”

(Image: Courtesy of Jones Mays II)

Mays II says his grandfather grew everything from okra, watermelon and more to serve community members.

“In this garden, I remember that every morning we had to wake up to pull out the vines that had grown overnight, and soon after I realized it was the kudzu vine,” he said. -he declares.

Mays II explains that the kudzu vine is a very invasive vine that grows in the south nearly a foot a day, causing more problems for those growing natural crops.

(Image: Gerry Gentry / Courtesy of Jones Mays II)

“I remember my grandfather always had to fight that vine, and when he sadly passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew I wanted to honor his legacy by creating an app that would solve the problem,” he said. -he adds.

What began as an AP research project to detect another similar invasive vine in the Houston area called the Japanese honeysuckle gave rise to the idea of IVY.

(Image: Latest IVY development review / Courtesy of Jones Mays II)

IVY, founded in 2021, is an app that provides advice to users about harmful invasive vines that can harm native plants and animals in their particular area.

The objective is to help users identify these invasive plants and eliminate them safely without damaging other plants essential to the agricultural development of the territory.

“Ultimately, researching the statistics of the damage these vines are causing, not just to the North American economy, but even to the global economy, it really showed me the need to fight these vines,” Mays II said.

(Image: Courtesy of Jones Mays II)

Some studies show that invasive plants are a main cause of the decline in the number of native plants and animals, and are even a factor for endangered species.

In terms of economic impact, invasive plants are costing California at least $82 million every year and contribute approximately $120 billion in damage to the United States each year, including other invasive species.

Mays II says the need has helped increase the number of IVY vines detected, such as Chinese wisteria and even kudzu vine.

He continued his research by developing the app after realizing there was competition around his project until he envisioned IVY becoming a product people needed.

After concluding his research development that was part of his AP project, Mayes II also teamed up with two of his friends who are proficient in coding to expand IVY to cover thousands of vines and into the business of organizing the delivery of plants.

An idea supported by one of his conservation teachers at Carnegie Vanguard High School to develop his vision and serve a larger market.

The application of Mays II has been recognized by Apple CEO Tim Cook as one of Applein 2022 Swift Student Challenge winners.

He also participated in NASA’s C’s program and currently works at Houston Museum of Contemporary Art like ato advise.

The hope of Mays II is that in everyone’s garden, people will simply be aware of what they are planting, even despite an invasive plant simply appearing as “pretty”.

“I hope we give planters and gardeners the tools they need to detect invasive plants that even cause social harm to our society. Whether it damages our infrastructure or hurts farmers,” Mays II explained. Invasive plants are a huge thing to tackle.”

As for education after high school, Mays II plans to continue his studies in the space technology sector in California, with an interest in schools such as the University of Southern California Where Stanford University.

Terri S. Tomasini