News Release

Kosrae Family Greenhouse Project

Lelu Farmers Association partners with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

One island in Micronesia has taken bold steps to show initiative in creating the means for families to provide for themselves through greenhouses.

Kosrae is the easternmost state of the Federated States of Micronesia, a tiny island of approximately 42 square miles and a population of 5 - 6000 persons. Average monthly rainfall on Kosrae is 20 to 30 inches.


It is here in Kosrae that a model for self-reliance can be found that can be used throughout all the islands of Micronesia and beyond. Individual families with greenhouses can grow healthy, fresh vegetables that are so important for combating Diabetes and NCD’s.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is aware of the high number of cases of Diabetes and NCD’s in the Pacific islands, and created a program called ‘Eat Healthy & Be Active’ to combat this trend.

Knowing the need for fresh vegetables, and the lack of them on the islands, one of the chapters in this program specifically teaches about growing a garden and building a greenhouse.

William H K Davis, Humanitarian Director in Guam for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was instrumental in forging a partnership with the Lelu Farmers Association (LFA) non-profit to provide “family greenhouses” in Kosrae State.

Elder John A McCune, Sister McCune, Micronesia Guam Mission President Masaru Okuda, Sister Okuda, the Kosrae missionaries, and Elder William H K Davis with Sister Davis visit a 'family greenhouse' in Kosrae which the Church has partnered with Robert J Sigrah in giving donations© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

LFA is a Kosrae State chartered corporation, started in 2015 by Robert J Sigrah, Chairman and Nora E Sigrah, Grant Administrator. In 2016, LFA began its vegetable seedling services throughFSM Congress funding. Growing “western vegetables” of cabbages, tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant performed much better in a protected environment of a greenhouse where watering could be controlled, and the plants (especially cabbage and tomatoes) could be protected from damaging torrential rainfall.


In addition to the Kosrae family greenhouses, the Church has also provided soil amendments to existing greenhouses. LFA provides these materials upon request to active greenhouses to assist with their vegetable production. Since 2019, the Church has funded the provision of supplemental soil amendments to existing greenhouses.

The Church provided a mini excavator to LFA in 2020 to assist with providing good quality topsoil to the greenhouse recipients. Many of the greenhouses are constructed in locations where there isn’t topsoil, especially Lelu Island, Malem and Utwe. The excavator arrived in July 2020 – while Kosrae’s borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and transferred to LFA by local Church leaders. The excavator was immediately put into use, with Chairman Robert excavating good topsoil from his property at Innem, Lelu and providing it to greenhouse recipients with LFA’s dump truck. This continues today, upon request from greenhouse recipients. The mini excavator is maintained by Chairman Robert.

Ben Alokoa, Yulsun Phillip, Moldon Mongkeya, Elkena Hadley, Robert J Sigrah© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In addition to providing a protected environment for the vegetable crops, the greenhouses provide families more access to locally grown vegetables, sorely needed to combat diabetes, which is prevalent in the adult population.  The greenhouses also provide food security through vegetables available to families with their own labor.


The family greenhouses funded by the Church have had a most positive impact on numerous Kosraean families. In addition to providing greenhouses, the Church provides a “starter kit” to each greenhouse recipient which includes lumber for shelving, grow bags, a garden hose with nozzle, potting soil, compost, manure, and slow-release fertilizer. LFA continues further assistance with provision of additional grow bags, trellises, and seedlings.

The Kosrae family greenhouse project has been funded by the Church annually from 2018 through 2022 for a total of 57 greenhouses located in all four Kosrae Municipalities of Tafunsak, Lelu, Malem, and Utwe. Two greenhouse were even constructed in the remote village of Walung, with the construction materials, carpentry crew and supplies, being transported by boat.

Greenhouses were provided to both Church members and other Kosrae families. Further, a greenhouse was provided to the Kosrae High School agriculture class to provide hands-on experience, as well as to the Seventh Day Adventist school/church.

Lelu Farmers Association and all greenhouse recipients are extremely grateful for the support of the Church, and especially our relationship with Elder Davis who has championed this project through the years. As diabetes concerns in the community continue to increase and food security issues rise with inflation of imported goods and shipping disruptions, LFA hopes that our partnership with the Church will continue with this family greenhouse project.


Chairman Robert adds his personal thanks saying, “This family greenhouse project has been a great success in providing families opportunity to grow their own vegetables for the dinner table, to help improve health of our community and to introduce children to farming. So many children do not connect that food in the stores comes from vegetables grown and harvested, and now they see it themselves.  LFA, Nora and I, and all our greenhouse recipients are extremely grateful to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their continuing commitment to this project over the years.  We continue to receive requests for family greenhouses, bags, soil amendments and we are committed to provide them with the assistance of the Church.  Kulo ma lulap!” 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.