At an altitude of 10,000 feet, it is far too cold for most of the traditional crops to be grown. In the altiplano, where we work, the season is too short for essentially all vegetables except potatoes to reach maturity. Other crops are often killed by unexpected frost. Thus the most common crop is potatoes, but this is not a traditional food for most Guatemalans (see Education, cooking).
Using a simple design of greenhouse, we have made a significant impact on the types of crops that can be grown, both for home consumption and for sale in the market. A variety of plants can be raised in the greenhouses for consumption by the family including squash, tomatoes, medicinal herbs, peppers, etc. By using the greenhouse to get an early start on the season, some individuals plant broccoli and cauliflower that they then transplant outside when the season is better. This allows them to raise a crop for market. This wasn’t possible before.