Water catchment pit linked to a hose for drip irrigation in the greenhouse


It’s what happens when you give project participants ownership over their projects. But why would someone ever be stripped of the freedom to innovate with something they own? They aren’t. But creativity can be stifled. Or it can be encouraged!

With the Maucau family greenhouse project we worked hard to get participants excited and deeply involved in the planning process from the frequency of workshops through the prioritization of content and above all the bigger vision of the project. Participants envisioned the potential allowing them to play a leading role in determining the direction of projects. For several months we held bi-weekly workshops, including one bigger demo farm workshop. Prior to our last community workshop, Ruben, Chris, and I visited each family greenhouse. We were slammed in the face by innovation! Many ideas we had talked about among ourselves were being put into practice – from water catchment to innovative space maximization practices, to simply yet clever irrigation systems. Leave a farmer alone and s/he will immediately identify problems and design clever solutions. This post shows some photos of what we saw. Some of these practices were so hard to capture on camera, and those you see are not done justice. But believe me, seeing firsthand what these innovators had done between workshops was quite impressive – it made each and every trip and all the planning worth it.  All I could think was: This crew of family greenhouse owners is awesome! They sure schooled me in how to overcome their growing challenges. ~Kat


Both the pit style and the rocks of this compost help keep materials warm and prevent over-drying in the high altitude climate

rain-fed catchment system fed by a rigged up roof gutter.

Sixto helps manage and maintain the Choquecancha primary school greenhouse. Ruben took this photo of Sixto in action, harvesting some giant cauliflower last week. His enthusiasm and hard work keeps the students involved. He works above and beyond to make sure the greenhouse looks good all the time too. We value the enthusiasm of community members such as Sixto who take pride in ensuring the continued success of the school greenhouse projects. Next year, we hope to work closer with Sixto, giving him even more tools for innovating and advancing the school greenhouse project alongside the students of Choquecancha.