Zinnia Loya, National Sales
Unlike many of her peers participating in UnitedAg’s WomenAg Leadership Academy, Zinnia Loya didn’t grow up on a farm or even in a rural area. “I had an urban upbringing in the East Bay,” she says, “although my background did focus on holistic health, including healthy foods.” Yet, it’s only within the past few years that Zinnia and husband Frank have begun to see themselves and their hydroponic growing materials business as part of the agribusiness community.
Founded a decade ago, their Oakland-based family business, Medium House, specializes in providing natural and raw materials, including rock wool and coconut fiber, used as a planting medium in hydroponic cultivation. Their products help enable year-round indoor and hothouse growing of many fruits and vegetables – including strawberries, tomatoes and peppers – as well as an increasingly common crop in California and across the U.S. – cannabis.
“It’s one of the more nontraditional agricultural applications for our products, but also the largest,” says Zinnia, who serves as operations manager and sales specialist for the business’s two main product lines, Green Diamond Stonewool and Green Diamond Coco Fiber. “Still, at the end of the day, it’s a business like any other, and one that’s increasingly impacted by the many operational, regulatory and other issues facing more traditional agriculture-related enterprises.”
As part of the WomenAg Leadership Academy, Zinnia says she and other participants recently joined UnitedAg staff members in visiting with legislators and regulators in Sacramento. “It was a real eye-opener and gave me a first-hand look at how the process works,” she says. “Although I have only been involved with UnitedAg for the past year, I have learned a lot from the organization’s leaders and my WomenAg Leadership Academy colleagues – important business lessons that I’ve been able to take home and put into day-to-day practice.”
A mother of two teenage sons who is active in both the family business and her community, Zinnia says she looks forward to her continued involvement with UnitedAg.