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January 29, 2019

Massey's first fellowship took him to Togo, Africa. (photo courtesy of Purdue University)
Massey’s first fellowship took him to Togo, Africa. (photo courtesy of Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE – A young Indiana entrepreneur is using his expertise to help farmers in Africa. Scott Massey, a graduate of Purdue University and co-founder of Evansville-based Heliponix, has been selected for his second Mandela Washington Fellowship to lead educational workshops in the Republic of Cameroon.

The fellowship seeks to “promote agricultural development through the academic and entrepreneurial empowerment of African peoples,” according to Purdue. Massey’s company has created the GroPod, an in-home appliance that grows produce year-round using pods similar to those made for coffee, and says the goal is to provide farmers in Africa with the means for sustainable farming to break the cycle of dependency on foreign aid.

The workshops will be held at Cameroonian universities and Massey, along with Mandela Washington fellow Daliwa Joseph Bainamndi, will give farmers information on developing and incorporating innovative farming practices and technologies, such as hydroponic farming, 3D printing, and computer-assisted design.

“In these workshops, we are implementing a new vertical farming technique that utilizes an adaption of the proprietary vertical farming technology also used in GroPod,” Massey said. “Not only will we be teaching the students about these advanced technologies that they can use to start their own businesses, but we will also be building model farms that they can incorporate into their curriculums to grow clean food.”

Massey’s first Mandela Washington Fellowship took place last year when he taught farmers in Togo, Africa about hydroponic farming.