The government in Jordan, having seen our 4 hectare farm and hydroponic greenhouses, asked us if we would implement a greenhouse in one of their juvenile detention centers. We visited the center and were thoroughly impressed by the director, who has run the center for 15 years. He demonstrated kindness with his staff. We were impressed with how he had implemented programs to enable the youth to grow in their academics and job skills despite being in detention.
We agreed and signed a partnership contract for the year 2022. It was agreed that we would start installing the greenhouse in early March, to plant at the end of March. From late February to the first week in June, we struggled with greenhouse suppliers. The first few were frustrating as promises were followed by delays and not following through. The one that did work was a long process of them saying they could not install the greenhouse on the concrete area that was planned and the only available space. After numerous back and forth communications, they agreed but would have to dig up the concrete considerably, which the center’s director objected to, even though he very much wanted the greenhouse project. This back and forth continued until a mutually agreed upon solution that was secure enough to install and least invasive into the concrete.
It was a miracle that we were able to find young plants that late in the season for the greenhouse, which took a considerable amount of searching to find. By starting late in the year, the plants had not matured before the heat of the summer, and we struggled to keep them alive and growing well. We seriously doubted they would survive as the summer progressed. This also was also a disappointment for training the youth. It looked like we were training them in how to kill plants!
The team pressed on and at the start of September it improved as the temperatures gradually lowered. We replace some plants that had died. The plants grew and the youth were engaged in three days a week of training. The plants finished in December and despite the setback, it was considered a success by the center director at the close.