Greenhouses in Gaza Help Local Farmers Grow Healthy Food
Since 2010, Anera's Gaza greenhouse program has built more than 1,100 greenhouses across Gaza, improving the health and livelihoods of families.
On a warm winter day in Gaza, Mohamed, a farmer, and his son Moetasem savoir their morning walk in the bountiful fields of Deir Al Balah. “Nothing is more pleasurable than walking through beautiful farmland on a sunny day,” he says.
Mohamed has lived in this area of Gaza for 15 years. He used to work the lands of other farmers, eking out a living in a constricted economy. Although he owns a plot of land passed down from his grandparents, the minimal income it generates didn’t allow him to make the best use of it.
“Growing peppers and tomatoes is so important. These are essential crops - the basic ingredients in almost every Palestinian meal,” he says.
Anera recently constructed a greenhouse on his land, enabling his family to make the most of the plot.
On the farm, Mohamed gives his son tips on weeding and how to tend to the plants. “It is like our home, son! We must keep it clean. Watch how I weed out the harmful plants,” he instructs.
Cooking Shakshouka Together
After picking fresh red tomatoes, they both cook shakshouka, a Palestinian dish with eggs and tomato sauce. Shakshouka can be prepared and eaten anytime of day by anyone. It requires only the most basic ingredients that any kitchen would have. In addition to tomatoes and eggs, extra ingredients can be added, according to the preference of the cook, like garlic, onions, green peppers, cheese, parsley and meat.
“This is how we end our working day,” says Mohamed, while his son prepares to leave for the noon shift at school.
To ensure that families derive the full benefit of their greenhouses, Mohamed and other participating families are trained on best agricultural practices and receive regular support from an Anera agronomist. The trainings cover topics ranging from the basics of organic agriculture to integrated pest management. The greenhouses provide an important source of nutritious fresh food for families as well as a supplemental income stream through the sale of surplus produce at local markets.