Greenhouses: Creating Income and Dietary Diversity

People often ask me. “why do you need a greenhouse in the tropics?”

Insects and viruses, not frost, are the single largest contributors to crop failure in Central America and the primary reason why most small-holder farmers don’t grow vegetables. A single failed crop could have catastrophic implications for a family that relies on each crop for survival. Vegetables are inherently more susceptible to predators and disease than basic grains like rice, beans and corn. For small-holder farmers who eat primarily what they grow, this means their diet is inherently deficient in essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A,K, C, potassium and folate. The GCI greenhouse is made of a soft but durable mesh material, which allows the greenhouse to breathe but has a tight enough weave to keep out insects and bugs. It enables poor farmers who otherwise could not afford the risk or investment of growing vegetables to do so. And because organic vegetables are in high demand in the market, the greenhouses turn surplus produce into income.

The Greenhouse project is not limited to the greenhouse itself. Along with the greenhouse, our field staff provides training on the production and use of organic fertilizers and pesticides that are produce with natural, cost-free materials found in each community. Our workshops are open to everyone at no cost and do not require the attendees to own a greenhouse. The workshop takes farmers through the proper production and application of organic fertilizers and pesticides to achieve the maximum output from their greenhouse with little to no environmental impact.

Making Markets work for the Poor

GCI strives to exploit the free market as a means of empowering the poor. By identifying or designing locally produced affordable, income-generating technologies that help rural communities improve the quantity and quality of their crops, we engage them in the local market and provide them with a sustainable way to improve their quality of life.

Greenhouses: Creating Income and Dietary Diversity

The Greenhouse project is not limited to the greenhouse itself. Along with the greenhouse, our field staff provides training on the production and use of organic fertilizers and pesticides that are produce with natural, cost-free materials found in each community.

Nutrition and dietary diversity are critical components to our model.

Income generation alone is not enough to break the cycle of poverty. The critical importance of proper nutrition cannot be underscored. By increasing the daily consumption of nutritious organic vegetables, each person affected has a better foundation from which to work, learn and progress.

People helped

Greenhouses built

Dollars donated

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