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Greenhouses for Poverty by Maeve and Esther

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Our plan is to build large-scale greenhouses for countries who would benefit from having a greenhouse.



We are trying to create something that can be maintained and help people in the community be fed, and create jobs. We thought greenhouses were a good idea because they are very easily sustainable and can grow many crops and feed many members of the community. Greenhouses won’t have to be replaced regularly and they will be able to shield out unwanted pests that could before contaminating the crops.  


 Grow crops with the Seawater Greenhouse concept 

Next Generation Greenhouse



What actions do you propose?

Materials we would use to produce the greenhouses that best fit the different climates for where we are planning to build them would be Glass, because it is $2.50 per foot,  and keeps heat in the greenhouse. Although, negatives are the glass lets in too much sun that can be harmful to plants in extreme heat. Another material we thought could be used is Steel because it is the same price as glass, it is low maintenance, and draws heat away from plants, which would usually be a negative but considering the climates we have chosen, this will be beneficial to the plants. Another idea for a material we could use is Polycarbonate because it is similar to glass, with more benefits. It is lighter than glass so the base doesn’t have to be as heavy. It is transparent like glass but protects against UV rays. It costs roughly $55.00 per 8x4 sheet, but if it cracks or breaks the whole panel has to be replaced.  

Another approach we could do is building Self-sustaining greenhouses (Solar greenhouses) because they use the sun’s energy to grow the food and provide the greenhouses with their heating needs unlike all-glass and or all-plastic greenhouses solar greenhouses don’t rely on fossil fuels to grow year-round. Solar greenhouses use the power of the sun, natural materials, and energy sufficient designs. Therefore they can grow way more-- avocados, fruiting tomatoes; using less water, energy, and resources. The prices for this material is $27.00 per plant space or $15 - $20  per Square Meter.

Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

In order to take action, we will need financial support, and we would be reaching out to these people who could help fund our program to better our society and help put an end to poverty. We have tried to find people who we thought would be most willing to help with our mission seeing as how they have similar views to ours. The Government in the specific areas; taking action towards helping their community, The Bill Gates fund, Sergey Brin, Craig  Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, and Leonardo Dicaprio. 

Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

These actions to help eliminate poverty will be performed in Ghana (Victoriaborg, Accra), Peru (Lima, Peru), Brazil (Rio), and Papua new guinea (Port Moresby) because we feel like these places will find it beneficial to be sustained by greenhouses. The way this will scale is in these poverty countries, the members of the community will be able to rely on greenhouses for food, making the rate of poverty decrease. We would like to make five medium-sized greenhouses to put around the city so people can come harvest crops, take care of the greenhouse and have a sustainable, reliable food source. Also, if people are maintaining the greenhouse (which will require minimal effort) it will begin to create jobs for the people in poverty and that will further help communities to get out of poverty.

In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2


Country 3


Country 4

Papua New Guinea

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Greenhouses are not bad for the environment, because of tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that are currently in the atmosphere, building more greenhouses will add to the gases rather than help get rid of them. Greenhouses have very many benefits because they are designed to be ideal spaces for growing crops and other plants, although it does have an environmental downside. It is helping the environment by feeding groups of people in different cities around the world. It will help stop poverty and create more jobs which will in return help the land that the greenhouses are being built on because the soil will have nutrients from the crops being grown there, and the sun and care it is being provided. It will have a positive effect on communities and the people in it, even though it may not help reduce greenhouse emissions.  

What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

We first wanted to supply the whole city with food from the greenhouse, but after doing the math we realized it was not a realistic goal. We wanted to build a big enough greenhouse that it could supply every person undergoing poverty. When we realized the greenhouse size could not be achieved, we later decided it would be better to build multiple average sized greenhouses for the people in poverty, even though not all the people undergoing poverty will be able to be sustained.
One of the challenges we faced was the money being used to create the greenhouses will not be able to go to other things like homes for the people in poverty, and the land will be used to build a greenhouse instead of other things like schools. Although, the greenhouse will be sustainable and make its own food when you use the seeds from the previous food that was grown. It will create jobs and develop cities.


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Per a high-end medium-sized greenhouse, the cost is usually about an average of $25,300. If we were to install 5 greenhouses per city we have chosen to help, the cost of building greenhouses for one city will be $126,500. The total cost of all the greenhouses will be roughly $506,000.

About the Authors

Maeve and Esther decided that the best way to help prevent poverty was to supply food, and ideal growing conditions for the food, to people who were in need. We decided that a greenhouse was a good idea because once it is built it is fairly easy to maintain and it can be used to provide people with the basic nutrients they need to survive.  



  • “The Largest Greenhouse in the World.” TwistedSifter, 13 Sept. 2012,


What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?