We live on a planet that is suffering from increased deforestation and pollution and dwindling fossil fuel reserves. Many people in the world struggle to afford the food they need to feed their families and the fuel they require to prepare it.
Solar cooking reduces deforestation, prevents cooking-fire injuries, and can improve the economic status of communities in developing nations
By encouraging the adoption of solar cooking, particularly in third world countries, we can help solve these problems. The energy provided by the sun is free, clean, renewable, and requires no transportation or transformation. Solar ovens allow more time and money to be spent on wholesome food and community involvement and less on finding and purchasing fuel, monitoring fires, and complicated cleanup.
Our mission is to encourage solar cooking and the manufacturing of solar ovens by members of the community where they will be used using minimal tools, as well as to educate volunteers and hobbyists about the benefits of solar cooking and to provide people with the information and materials they need to become comfortable with solar ovens.
Drawbacks of Traditional Cooking in the Developing World
Much of the developing world relies on firewood and charcoal for cooking, baking, and producing safe drinking water. In these areas, such traditional cooking methods have dramatic drawbacks, such as:
- Women must often walk for miles through unsafe areas to obtain firewood
- Families must spend large amounts of their income on fuel
- Firewood consumption increases deforestation
- Smoke from cooking fires contributes to air pollution.
- Cooking is often done indoors by women, children, and the elderly and disabled, who must breathe in smoke and soot, increasesing the risk of eye and lung damage
- When firewood is unavailable or too expensive, families avoid cooked foods, which leads to malnutrition and the risk of illness and disease caused by unpasteurized drinking water
- Injuries caused by carrying heavy loads of fuel are common, as are severe burns, and property loss caused by open cooking fires.
- Traditional cooking methods require more water for both cooking and cleaning. In areas of water scarcity, this can require additional long trips to re-supply water
Solar Cooking Benefits
In sharp contrast to this, solar cooking provides many benefits. For example:
- Solar cooking saves time. Not only is there no need to seek firewood, there is also no need to tend an open fire. This time can instead be spent at work, at market, tending crops, or spending time with family
- Young women who would otherwise be tasked with finding fuel and watching fires can attend school and get a valuable education instead
- Solar cooking saves money, which can then be spent on more and better food, medical care, clothing, school supplies, and other necessities
- Solar ovens also provide small business opportunities for local craftsmen who can manufacture them
- Solar ovens are invaluable to institutions such as schools, churches, orphanages, relief camps, hospitals, etc., who require inexpensive ways to produce large quantities of wholesome food
- Solar ovens preserve the nutritional value of food due to water retention, low cooking temperatures, and prevention of burned or scalded foods
- Solar ovens encourage the cooking of whole, healthy foods such as beans and legumes that would otherwise be avoided due to their long cooking times and high fuel consumption
- Solar cooking is available even in the event of an emergency or disaster, when traditional fuel supplies may be scarce or prohibitively expensive
- Solar cooking allows indoor kitchens to stay cool in the summer while food cooks safely outside