Oruro, Bolivia – Pastor Cleto is known for his green thumb and innovative ideas. At his church, you won’t just find places to pray and worship and learn about Jesus. You’ll also find a greenhouse, solar ovens and a welding workshop, all which serve as ministries to support families and vulnerable children in his community.

This past fall, Pastor Cleto added yet another ministry to his church that has taken many by surprise. The project is called hydroponics, which is an agricultural technology for growing vegetables and plants without soil. The system works by circulating nutrient-rich water through tubes, allowing plants to grow in a safe, sustainable environment.

Pastor Cleto has started testing this new technology in his greenhouse in Oruro with very promising results. Previously, using soil-based planting, he was able to produce about 50 bunches of lettuce every three months. Now with hydroponics, the expected output is up to 1,000 bunches of lettuce each month.

Even more incredible, lettuce is not typically grown in Oruro due to the cold climates and dry soil. But with hydroponics, Pastor Cleto’s church is one of the first to produce lettuce in the entire city!

Root system of a plant grown hydroponically.

“Before, the lettuce we produced only went to feed the children in the after-school program. Now we can not only use it for food, but we can sell the lettuce and invest that into the program to purchase other materials we need like school supplies and activities for the kids” shares Pastor Cleto.

The production is just beginning but we are so excited to see how this new technology will transform Pastor Cleto’s church and community. Stay tuned for updates as we follow this project throughout the year!