Cook 4 Your Future

All human beings need food to survive. We also need fire — it provides power and cooks our food. Fire is traditionally made by burning coal or biomass, whether from wood, crop residue, dung, or charcoal. Fuel for the fires comes from nature, slowly resulting in deforestation.

Nearly 3 billion people still cook their food over open fires or in rudimentary cookstoves. This number continues to grow because of population growth. The most basic and widely used cooking device is the wood-fueled, three-stone fire, which is made by arranging three stones to make a stand for a cooking pot.

The main concern with using crude biomass to power cookstoves is the devastating effects on human health and natural resources. When used indoors, biomass cookstoves cause severe health issues, including chronic lung diseases, acute respiratory infections, cataracts, and blindness. The main victims are women, who do most of the housework, and young children, who mothers often carry on their backs while cooking. The environmental degradation caused by biomass stoves is equally problematic. According to Low-Tech Magazine, when wood is used as a primary fuel, inefficient cooking methods lead to large-scale deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, and greenhouse gas emissions.

How do we change this? We can´t just take away old ways of cooking food. Project Vita is working with the community to build rocket stoves made of clay and recycled materials. The beauty of the rocket stove is that it keeps the traditional way of cooking but decreases the amount of wood needed. It doesn’t create smoke, and two pans can be used at the same time. This way we conserve nature and improve our health, and cooking food becomes more efficient. Less time cooking food means more time doing other things, like spending time with our children, studying, or starting a small business.

It takes time to change old ways, but together we can improve the way people cook.