Today’s post is written by Marvin Pitman. He and his wife Hayley live in Mongolia helping Kazakh families through community development. Learn more about the Western Mongolia Development project.
On November 10, 2017 we were harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers from our new model greenhouse. It was the last harvest of the year, and it could have been better, but for us it marked a successful first season for a new project.
In our part of Mongolia outside temperatures are about 10 degrees Fahrenheit in November. But in the greenhouse, the daytime temperature was 70 degrees and full of growth.
We first started working on this project in the summer of 2016. However construction was put to an abrupt stop when a neighbor insisted on us not moving forward. (In hindsight, that summer was busy enough.)
In 2017, we prayerfully approached the same neighbor again about restarting construction. He was cautious but agreed not to oppose the build.
In cooperation with a local NGO called FARM and two local builders, we were able to build a 30×15 foot greenhouse. It wasn’t beautiful—much of the material had been salvaged from old buildings—but all required materials cost only 240 dollars.
Keeping the price tag low and locally replicable was, and remains, an important goal.
Our local office manager took on the added role of greenhouse manager. She worked closely with two ladies who were interested enough to volunteer their time, in exchange for the produce and the experience. The harvest was plentiful, and the women were able to grow approximately 2-3 months longer than others in their community.
Next spring, we look forward to starting the greenhouse up again. More importantly, we hope that at least one or two individuals who have seen the model will decide to build their own greenhouses. I don’t think it will be our next-door neighbor, but there are several people who have expressed significant interest. We’re looking forward to the season ahead.