Efficient Cooking Stoves
In Haiti, the majority of people still use wood and charcole fuel cut from mangrove swamps to cook their food, and the mangroves are disappearing fast...
Mangrove swamps are one of the most fascinating and complex ecosystems, and support a wide variety of both marine and terrestrial life. Many birds and reptiles live in the branches of these unique salt-resistant trees, while underwater, baracles and sponges cling to the roots. Mangroves protect the shoreline from damage in storms, stabilize the land from errosion, filter water running off into the ocean, and produce seafood.
The trees also provide firewood and charcole fuel for the people of Haiti. Because the wood is saturated with salt, it burns very hot, and high-heat cooking has become an important part of Haitian culture.
Mangrove swamps are in danger because wood is being cut faster than it can regrow. People need to find new ways of cooking because their primary fuel source is disappearing.
What we're doing to help
OceansWatch is currently testing various types of stoves to find the most efficient and socially acceptable model for people in Haiti.
During her 2011 visit, our director Donna Lange constructed a parabolic solar oven, similar to the picture above. Unfortunately, the oven turned out to cook food far too slowly.
Another idea we are exploring is insulated solar box ovens, which would require a departure from traditional stove-top cooking methods, but can cook food very fast, and can be used to bake bread.
Solar fruit dryers are already being used in many parts of Haiti to preserve bulk harvests of fruits and vegetables. Many islanders are already skilled craftsmen, and OceansWatch hopes to teach them how to construct the dryers from local materials.
We are also looking into two kinds of very efficient stoves: wood gas burners and rocket stoves.
Learn more about...
Rocket stoves and wood gas burners...
Solar fruit dryers...