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Monday, May 27, 2024

On the Farm

After graduating from Purdue University in May 2017, Scott Massey was asked by a program director of the university’s Mandela Washington Fellowship to participate as an American professional mentor for African students interested in learning about sustainable agriculture.

As the founder and CEO of Heliponix, Massey was perfectly suited to the task. Evansville Business covered the entrepreneur and his business partner Ivan Ball in the December 2018/January 2019 issue and dove into Heliponix’s GroPods, a hydroponic technology that allows users to grow fresh produce in their homes using rotary aeroponics and without soil.

Last year, Massey traveled to Togo, a small country in West Africa, as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship to teach lectures at the U.S. embassy and local universities and hold educational workshops to build decentralized vertical farms. At the beginning of this year, he was selected a second time for the fellowship and traveled to the African country of Cameroon in mid March.

“It is an extremely selective program that only accepts the top students of each country to represent their nations and allows the mentor and fellow to submit joint project proposals to implement projects in Africa,” says Massey. “This is a multi-stage selection process that requires a complete business proposal that quantifies the impact of the project.”

Massey and his two fellows Delia Diabangouaya and Joseph Daliwa built a second-generation farm design in Cameroon while teaching lectures at universities and orphanages of children displaced by regional conflict. The goal he says is to eventually feed the world.

“The future president of these countries may be a malnourished child living in poverty,” says Massey. “Not only are we improving the quality of life for these people, but we are solidifying a strategic alliance and understanding that the U.S. is a force for good in the world.”


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