Hydroponic Organic Gardening

Needed: $5000

Received: $5000


***UPDATED 9/29/2013***

Participant, Jonathan Magee, produced a short video showing an update on the hydroponic project completed May 2013. Follow the link to view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKdKA0U6SMA


***UPDATED 8-8-12

In May, Good Works and LifeNets worked together to develop organic hydroponic infrastructure in urban Guatemala City. The ongoing project is being led by Francisco Solorzano, who has worked as an agronomist for several decades.

Recently Mr. Solorzano updated Good Works and LifeNets on the progress being made with the project. He has organized four groups of five individuals who wish to learn about the hydroponic process and begin their own gardens.

At the same time, Mr. Solorzano will be overseeing a planting program for those who would like to participate. It will allow them to work with Mr. Solorzano to produce seedlings at the facility, before they are transplanted in the individuals’ own gardens.


Good Works Hydroponics Project Update
by Sarah Bizic
While we were preparing to leave for Guatemala, a feeling of nervousness and excitement inter-mingled. We were going to a location we knew very little about, to do a project that we had never done before, with people that we didn’t know, most of whom did not speak our native language. When two alarms failed to go off for our early morning flight and we still managed to make it to the airport on time, we were reassured that God was with us and we were here to serve His people.
The project started with clearing off the roof of Francisco and Hilda Solorzano’s home in Guatemala City. Mr. Solorzano has years of experience as an agronomist, and he is the one who developed the idea for the project. We, along with help from some of the local members, then made six hydroponic tables. These are similar to standard tables, with the exception that the top forms a basin for water to be in, which is then covered in thick plastic and a small hole drilled for drainage. The plants will then be placed in styrofoam holders that will float on top of the water.
With the tables complete, we had the biggest task yet to do: make a shade shelter to go over about half of the roof. We bought some metal poles and had them bent into shape. We then fastened them to the walls of the roof and drilled holes to screw them together. With this done we put strung wire between the poles to further support the shade net that we put on top. This net lets in 70 percent of the sunlight, creating an ideal environment for the plants. With most of the physical center being put together before we left, Mr. Solorzano will begin producing seedlings and getting the center growing. Then he will begin holding small workshops with some of the local brethren to teach them how to grow hydroponically in their own homes, thus providing them with high quality and nutritious food to eat and sell.
We were so thankful to get to help with this project and learned and experienced so much while we were in Guatemala. One of the biggest things that stood out was that brethren are brethren wherever we are and whatever languages we speak. We had an automatic family in perfect strangers who loved and genuinely cared about us and who we love right back. We are hoping to return to Guatemala soon for the Feast to meet more amazing people and visit the brethren that we already hold close in our hearts.

Jonathan Magee, Milan and Sarah Bizic have returned from their time in Guatemala. Check back soon for a complete update of their time working on building a hydroponic garden in Guatemala.

This morning three intrepid travelers are boarding the plane for Guatemala. Milan, Sarah and Jonathan will be spending the next week and a half working with locals in Guatemala to establish a hydroponic and organic farming infastructure. Below is a detailed listing of what they will be working towards. We'll be posting updates about their travels and the work they are accomplishing periodically during their trip. Check back soon!

From May 13 to May 22, 2012, Jonathan Magee, Milan Bizic and Sarah Bizic will travel to Guatemala to assist local brethren in a joint Good Works and Youth Corps project. The main goal of the project will be to establish hydroponic and organic farming infrastructure to produce food for personal use and to sell. We will be providing an update to introduce the volunteers shortly.

Updates on this project will be made here and on lifenets.org

United Church of God is supplying the three Youth Corps workers. The Good Works program is providing the air travel to Guatemala. LifeNets is providing the supplies.

You may be interested in more of the details of the project as outlined in the proposal below:

Urban Production of Greenhouse Vegetables and Ornamental Techniques to Hydroponics



Urban agriculture is the option to grow vegetables intensively in small areas. The production areas may be patios or terraces. Hydroponic techniques allow the use of lightweight materials and the use of all types of plastic containers, promoting recycling and avoiding environmental degradation through organic urban agriculture.


The cultivation of vegetables and other crops, using the technique of hydroponics, has been increasing in urban areas as an alternative to meet the nutritional needs of the population. According to data collected, it was found that the diet of the population have and a lack of vitamins and minerals present in vegetables.

Hydroponics techniques have been improved, making the production of vegetables in wooden boxes and plastic containers recycled.


Produce vegetables, ornamentals and herbs intensively for family consumption and sale system using hydroponics techniques beds under plastic structures and Saran (special mesh fabric).

Plants reproduce by vegetative propagation and acquire new species.


In order to grow vegetables intensively, is required to build a structure with galvanized pipes and installation of PVC plastic and saran (mesh) to protect plants from extreme weather such as rain and excessive sun.

For the production are built wooden boxes filled with inert materials such as rice hulls and other materials and apply the nutrient solution that provides the necessary elements for their development. In another embodiment is "seed" vegetables in sheets of hard-port placed in wooden boxes lined with plastic filled with water.

For adopting organic production methods for physical and biological exclude pesticides, thus ensuring the production of vegetables free of chemical residues.

Planting vegetables is done in stages to ensure continuity of production throughout the year, taking the plastic cover.

Compared with the conventional production system, it is possible to produce 40 kg / year / square meter of vegetables. The minimum area for a family to produce vegetables for their food security is 12 square meters.


By plastic cover occurs without interruption throughout the year and production is not affected by climate variations.

Once collected the product will be placed on trays for sale, mainly members of the congregation in Guatemala so they can eat vegetables produced organically without chemical contamination.

Material to be used 

  • Galvanized pipes
  • PVC plastic pipe
  • Plastic greenhouse
  • Black polyethylene plastic
  • Manufacturing wooden boxes
  • Plastic containers for recycling waste
  • Nutrient solutions
  • Hard-port plates (foam)
  • Garden tools (scissors, spoons, hoes, clippers etc.
  • Plastic trays for seedlings
  • Pylons for transplantation
  • Rice husks and other inert materials
  • Sand
  • Plastic sleeves for sowing
  • Wire hanging baskets
  • Polyethylene bags
  • Plastic pots
  • Wire
  • Links
  • Irrigation sprinklers
  • Black Pipeline
  • Hoses and sprinkle

Planting area

It has a floor space of approximately 90 square meters where it can grow horizontally and vertically in several growing seasons throughout the year.


To cover supplies, the investment is approximately $1,500 (one thousand five hundred dollars), which can be specified for each item.


The production center of this project will be used to provide training to members of the Church who so wish to become self-sufficient in vegetable production at household level.

Jonathan, the project manager, is an ABC graduate who works in the media department of United Church of God. He loves speaking Spanish and loves working with kids. Jonathan looks forward to working with other volunteers and prays that God truly blesses the project to make a meaningful impact on the children of Eagle's Nest orphanage. Jonathan...

Milan Bizic is the 25-year-old publications proofreader for the United Church of God. Hailing from the hills of Eastern Ohio, he grew up alternately on a small farm and in a Victorian townhouse, where his family ran a care home for elderly and mentally challenged individuals. Home schooled from kindergarten to high school, he...