S2E23: s2e23 Melvin Medina - An Agricultural Globetrotter


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Episode Summary

Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Agricultural Officer at FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Melvin Medina. The FAO is an organization that is striving for zero hunger, a sustainable planet and a future of food for all. In this episode, Harry and Melvin talk about Melvin’s passion for horticulture, the numerous roles Melvin has held in the AgTech industry and the impactful work Melvin has done in Jamaica, Tanzania, Cambodia and Italy. They touch on specific projects Melvin and his team have worked on throughout the years as well as the message Melvin would like to leave about the future of AgTech and vertical farming.

Episode Sponsor

Ceres Greenhouse Solutions

Key Takeaways

  • 03:22 – Harry welcomes to the show Melvin Medina, who shares his passion for horticulture and how he initially got involved in AgTech
  • 10:02 – Melvin recalls the decision to join Fintrac and the work he did building greenhouses in Jamaica
  • 15:02 – Challenges Melvin and his team faced in constructing greenhouses in an area where hurricanes are commonplace
  • 17:46 – Other projects Melvin worked on during his time at Fintrac
  • 20:43 – Melvin discusses the culture shock he experienced while working in places such as Tanzania and Cambodia
  • 24:04 – Melvin opens up about the challenges of raising a family while traveling so extensively for work and what eventually led his to FAO
  • 28:38 – Melvin discusses the common issues he sees among farmers across the globe and what opportunities he sees for technology to address these issues
  • 38:42 – Melvin provides a brief history of FAO, their mission and the important work they do
  • 42:08 – Melvin speaks to how the global pandemic has affected how we all view agriculture and the overall supply of food
  • 44:31 – Melvin speculates on the future of his career and shares a message with the overall community about AgTech
  • 48:59 – Harry thanks Melvin for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can connect with him

Tweetable Quotes

“In 2005 I was moved to Jamaica to replicate what we were doing in El Salvador. And it was a great experience because we were establishing the first greenhouses in Jamaica.” (12:36)

“What I wanted to really do was instead of being in one place and assisting farmers in one place, my vision was to be at a place where I could reach more people. And FAO has offered me that opportunity.” (27:07)

“The issues that are common between countries and regions are, for example, the lack of access to funds, the access to high quality extension services.” (29:17)

“We need these systems to be affordable for small-scale farmers. It will be very good to come up with low-cost systems so farmers can afford to invest in these systems without losing efficiency.” (33:17)

“I have seen farmers growing crops on their adapted systems, even low cost systems. And they are able to send their kids to school. They are able to pay for better healthcare services. And they are able to buy better and more food. So it’s possible.” (38:01)

“I think during this pandemic the world has realized the importance of food and the supply of food.” (42:37)

Links Mentioned

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Website

Melvin’s Division: Plant Production & Protection Division

Melvin’s LinkedIn


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