Promoting Low Tech Ways
to Heat and Cook
Solar cookers - heaters - water heaters - dehydrators
The Sexto Sol Center promotes what is called "appropriate technology" which is simply building low cost, low tech things that meet practical household needs without creating pollution. Ideally we use found materials like cardboard boxes to reduce not only cost but also to reduce solid waste, a big problem where there is no formal recycling.
People in the mountain villages live in simple homes with corrugated metal roofs that leak out any heat that the cooking fire produces. Houses are drafty and the water that is used for washing is freezing. Diseases that have been eradicated elsewhere are common and malnutrition is the norm. Therefore it is important to give people strategies to heat their homes and water and to eliminate drafts so they can avoid illness during the harsh winter cold. We are especially interested in helping to improve the temperatures inside high mountain schools so that children, who often don't have appropriate clothing for the cold, can better concentrate and learn.
January, 2011 - We are working on a prototype solar heater made from cardboard, newspaper and aluminum cans. Once perfected, we will provide several to schools. One will be on display at our Permaculture school. These heaters are so low cost, we hope that people will make them for their homes.
Farmers in the Sierra produce apples and peaches but do not have a good way to market the produce. They typically travel several hours each week to sell their produce in the open air market twice a week in Motozintla. With each family selling its fruit individually, they must compete with each other to sell to a small local market. A lot of fruit spoils, reducing the farmer’s income. Francisco Barrios, Program Coordinator, has been promoting the use of solar fruit dryers as a way to preserve the fruit so that it can be packaged and sold. He envisions a cooperative effort that can eventually formalize this strategy into a business.
Every year students from the high school come to the Escuela de Agroecologia y Permacultura Tierra Linda to ask for our help with projects for their classes. This is an excellent opportunity for us to get them interested in green solutions, something we hope will influence their choices in the future.