The high tropical village of Corani Pampa, Bolivia, home to 28 families (130 people), is partnering with Mano a Mano to build covered wood-framed greenhouse structures in which to plant fruits and vegetables.
Eating the First Salad From the Greenhouse
The community invited our agronomist Juan Carlos to eat the first salad grown with lettuce from their greenhouse a few days ago:
Corani Pampa Greenhouse Design
Corani Pampa lies at about 6,000 feet above sea level, a modest elevation by Bolivian standards, at the entrance to the Amazon basin. Village families told us that their periodic heavy rains, along with chill winds, damage fruits and vegetables; when their seeds are planted outdoors about 30-40% of them live and produce food. When planted in a greenhouse, over 95% of seedlings will survive. The wood frame of this model (in contrast to adobe-wall) greenhouse supports agro-film walls and a semi-shade, translucent plastic sheet roof. An adobe-wall greenhouse would hold too much heat for the Corani Pampa climate. The selected 20×26 square-foot design is sufficient to shield seedlings and provides needed protection from blazing sunlight. We expect the wooden structure and roof to last for twenty years, the plastic sides for five years.
Farmers will use about 90% of their greenhouse space for plants such as carrots, tomatoes and lettuce that they will pick and consume, and then replant. They will set aside about 10% of their greenhouse space to plant seedlings that take longer to mature, transplanting them outdoors when they are large enough to thrive. In both situations, a greenhouse makes it possible for families to plant several crops per year and have enough food for a healthy diet.
Training & Education to Complement the Greenhouse Projects
Doña Irene Talks About Her Greenhouse Built With Mano a Mano
Quechua-speaking Doña Irene tells the agronomist that she is very happy with her “beautiful” greenhouse. She says she will plant every type of vegetable: spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, turnips. She would have to travel many miles to the city to buy vegetables for her family of seven. But she has decided not to purchase produce from the city because she fears that it’s heavily fumigated. She doesn’t want her children to eat food that has been treated with chemicals or medicines. Now, thanks to Mano a Mano, she will be able to prepare healthy food for her children.