Operation Mercy works with schools and individual farmers to support them in setting up successful high-altitude greenhouse operations so that families and communities can grow nutritious fresh vegetables in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan in an area where, usually, it is almost impossible to grow anything other than root vegetables.
One of the greenhouse project spin offs is composting and soil development training. This builds the capacity of people in town so that they can make better use of the small garden plots they have to be able to produce food.
During another training recently, we taught and equipped our greenhouse partners to preserve their food for the long Tajik winter. Tomatoes and onions and other food stuffs were cut up and boiled and canned and the participants were pleased to have good nutrition to keep them healthy during the coming cold months.
We have also been working with farmers in their orchards. In the Pamirs, fruit trees have cultural and spiritual significance. Our aim is to work alongside them to be the best stewards they can be while being conscience of existing environmental values. Operation Mercy offers demonstrations and trainings about how to prune fruit trees and how to naturally control pests. From the initiative of the farmers who we work with, we have been assisting farmers in fruit processing, particularly in making juice from apples. Currently we work with eight farmers in locations who collect otherwise-wasted apples in order to be juiced. Apples come from neighboring villages and are pressed into 100% apple juice, preserved for home consumption or for sale.
As Operation Mercy trains and equips farmers and partners, we support the health and livelihoods of families in the Pamirs as well as see an increase in quantity, quality and utility of fruit grown here.