Stephanie's Heroes: Building Glass Greenhouses in Mongolia

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

August 15, 2011

What may look like garbage to some could have great potential for others.

“We thought why don't we take the glass and use that as a construction material for greenhouses,” said project organizer David Martin.

After a trip to Mongolia, Martin realized that people there were unable to grow fruits and vegetables because of harsh conditions, and flimsy plastic greenhouses.

That's when he and his colleagues came up with the idea to go back and build a studier greenhouse made of glass bottles found nearby.

“Everybody looked at these large piles of glass as simply trash, at best. Sometimes they were looked past completely,” said Ken Dabkowski.

They collected thousands of bottles, melted down the glass, constructed a frame and built one of the most unique greenhouses you'll ever see.

“It's an incredible inspiration," said participant Bill Hess. "It's reassuring to know that you can take an idea and jump through all the hoops to make it a reality. It's very empowering."

In the past, Mongolia has looked to boarding countries for produce. Now there's an ability to grow extra potatoes, cabbage fruits and veggies.

Not only is the creation of glass greenhouses functional, it's also quite unique with it's various glass markings.

“The actual window panels are just an amazing work of art. They show the history of the glass,” said Hess.

This is the first project of it's kind, but it won't be the last. While the group was in Mongolia they worked with the people, teaching them how to build their own glass greenhouses.

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