The greenhouse of Santa Marta is an area in the community where youth work to produce vegetables in a sheltered area, so as to later sell those vegetables to the community at a low price.  The group’s main goal is to benefit people from the community, providing them with quality products at a low price. 

The first greenhouse was built in the community in 2003. Currently the community has five greenhouses; four for the youth group and one in which adults work. We are also starting to produce organic vegetables in an open outdoors area, as well as in one greenhouse.

I began to work in the greenhouse project in 2005, when the project started in the community to built and equip a new greenhouse. At this point in time the group that worked there had almost disappeared; only two were left because the rest had left to study in university and others had migrated to the United States. For this reason, we saw the need to form a new youth group to build this new greenhouse.

At the beginning, this group was comprised of 20 young adults, all males. But then when we were told that the work would be voluntary and that we would not be paid, the majority left the group, and about half were left. Despite this, we were able to build the greenhouse. It was a little difficult for us, but we were able to do it. I was really enthusiastic at this time and with a strong desire to work because I was really interested in working in greenhouses.

The first vegetables we grew in the greenhouse had a lot of problems because we didn’t know very much about how to work in the greenhouse. We lost a lot of plants, but over time, we went along acquiring the necessary knowledge to work well and improve our harvest.

Over all this time we have been improving the work in the greenhouse. The group is small, and despite the fact that we do not receive regular pay, we continue working because we like to work with plants and help the community.

During my time in the greenhouse group, I have learned a lot of interesting and important things, acquired a lot of knowledge, and had the opportunity to get to know other groups that work in greenhouses.

I hope to continue more vegetable production this year and be able to continue helping my community.

Written by national ICS volunteer Osman Armando Hernández