Solar Cooking Plus Let the sun cook your food Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:32:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Solar Training Classes in Jackson Sun, 07 Sep 2014 00:48:39 +0000 On Sept 12 and Sept 22 the Rotary Club of Jackson will be sponsoring classed with Irene Perbal in how to cook with the energy of the sun. Will include instructions to easily make solar cookers. The training sessions will be at the St.Katharine Drexel Church from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM.

After the lessons we will enjoy our sunny lunch and take time to answer all your questions. You will go home knowing exactly what to do, taking along your own solar cooker, hay basket and black cooking pot.

Please contact Irene or register at the Interfaith Foodbank Desk. We look forward to seeing you at the sunny events and helping you to become a well trained solar chef!

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Gallery: Rotary Solar Dinner Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:48:45 +0000 The Jackson, Ca. Rotary Club has been the main sponsor of our solar cooker programs, and extremely supportive of both our local and international programs.

So on August 19, 2014, we treated the members of the Rotary and their spouses to their first solar cooked meal.

Members had the opportunity to see the solar cookers in action, see how simple and low cost they are to use, and to taste some delicious food cooked by the sun!

(photos by Dirk Wentling)

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Gallery: Solar Festival in Jackson CA Sun, 24 Aug 2014 03:59:07 +0000 After the local project, Irene organized a solar festival in Jackson, Ca., where she showed off what her new students would do with the tools they had acquired.

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Back to Sacramento Sat, 09 Aug 2014 03:36:35 +0000 This morning I was back to Solar Cookers International to pick up two boxes of solar cookers and black cooking pots that will be donated to the people we will train in our classes.

Everyone was still walking on air from the favorable effects of the international convention! They were amazed to see my menu for the upcoming Rotary Gourmet Solar Dinner, August 19. The menu includes Coq Au Vin, Brazilian rice with spices, ratatouille with zucchini, tomatoes and onions, sausage ragout. Dessert will be mango custard. I think that’s what most appealed to people.

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Gallery: First Local Project, Calaveras Fri, 23 Aug 2013 23:45:11 +0000 After coming home from Brazil, Irene was demonstrating solar cookers at a local farmer’s market when she met some people from the Resource Connection/Calaveras Food Bank. Homeless people coming to their local food banks, they told her, had no way to cook food. As a result they would sometimes throw away valuable food, such as rice.

The result was a program to start training the people working with those in need in how to use and build solar cookers.

The project has now trained 12 trainers and assisted 5,484 families in their local region.

Here is where it all started, in Calaveras County.

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Aside from the solar cookers, local residents were trained in how to build and use a rocket stove. Also known as the Winiarski stove, a rocket stove is made of an empty 5 gallon paint drum, or built with bricks and mud. It does not generate smoke like traditional wood fires, is very fuel efficient (can boil water, literally using twigs as fuel, in 15 minutes), and can be used at night or on rainy days

Haybaskets, which you will also see here, are fireless cookers. An ancient model heat retainer made of a basket or cardboard box lined with insulating material such as hay, crumpled newspaper, rags, etc., the haybasket finishes cooking partially cooked food from the Rocket Stove, or keeps food warm after the sun has gone down.

Irene is intimately familiar with both. Her family and neighbors often used them during World War II to serve the family meals.

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Gallery: 2011: Training the Trainers Mon, 22 Aug 2011 06:34:05 +0000

training the trainers in the Gold Country

In April 2011 Solar Cooking Plus held a workshop to “train the trainers” — teachers the people who help the needy families in Amador and Calaveras Counties to build and use solar cookers.

The workshop was held in partnership with The Resource Connection and ATCAA.

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Rotary International Award Tue, 22 Jun 2010 07:25:28 +0000 Medium Size Club
Service Project of the Year

During the 2009 District Conferance, Irene received the International Service Award for Medium Size Club – Service Project of the Year – Solar Cooking Project in Brasília.

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Gallery: Brazil, the Whole Story Thu, 20 Aug 2009 23:59:12 +0000 A whirlwind, very productive trip. We left knowing that we had changed lives for the better.

The whole Brazil project in 60 photos.

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Final Report on Program in Brazil Thu, 30 Oct 2008 23:56:48 +0000 Here we are back home after eleven weeks of “Teaching the Teachers” in Brazil. It certainly was no vacation but a very hard working time!

Instead of the originally-planned 4 workshops we held 12, in addition to the 8 slide show presentations for different organizations reaching roughly 600 people who presently know about the method, which of course will not make them all avid solar cookers!

We have now 5 teams of “multiplicators” perfectly able to teach the use and making of the Solar Cookers, the Rocket Stoves and the Hay Baskets. We gave them all the information needed to adquire the local material to make the devices. For example we had the good luck to find adhesive aluminum foil, which made the manufacturing of Solar Cookers much quicker and easier than if we had to glue aluminum foil to the cardboard. It also makes the final product better finished and sturdier than the glued version.

On several occasions we had the opportunity to observe how well prepared our star students are to continue this important program. They made us very proud! Since they have no access to high-quality tools in Brazil (most are imported and thus far too expensive for modest incomes), Michael ordered 17 sets of aviation-style tin snips in the U.S.A. and had them sent to Brasília. Unfortunately, the first batch of tin snips arrived just after we left! They will be distributed by our partner Rotary Club.

I also made 11 visits to local Rotary Clubs, not only to have the necessary make-ups, but mostly in order to publicize our program and workshops. Governor Ronaldo Carneiro invited me to accompany him on several of his official visits. He wanted to make all the Rotary Clubs of his district aware of the existence of our Program. Of course I couldn’t do all the visits, but Gov. Carneiro and his wife have been our very best PR persons.

Our workshops mostly took place in the far-away satelite townships around Brasília, where there is still a lot of poverty and lack of access to the most elementary facilities. (We also put more than 4,000 kilometers – about 2,500 miles – on our rented Fiat in getting to these places!)

We gave workshops for several very important and active environmental groups and university students, who were very interested in the water pasteurization part of the classes.

Prof. Bob Metcalf’s Portable Microbiology Laboratory is now in the hands of Dr. Sonia Terra Ferraz, employee at the Ministry of Public Health and teacher at the University of Brasília. She has an impressive resumé. She is considering coming to the United States in order to meet Prof. Metcalf.

One Chilean lady, Ery Fredes, a local representative of Greenpeace, came to our workshop at the Planetary Union. After consulting her headquarters in São Paulo, they asked for a solar cooker package, which we gladly handed to her.

In order to assure the continuity of this program, we are in the process of establishing partnership with two Rotary Clubs in Brasília: one with RC Brasília Lago Norte for Matching Grants (they have already reserved US$ 3,000, – for the project), and another with RC Brasília Peninsula Norte for a Voluntary Service Grant (VSG). After we were done with the workshop, we stored the remaining program material at the facilities of the Cooperating Organization, Solidarity Program for Increasing Family Income, our partner for the Matching Grants with the RC Brasília Lago Norte. I hope any other RC of our own region will join us in this very important humanitarian program.

Even after we left Brasília, Governador Carneiro continues to give attention to the project and Mrs. Fernanda Curado, spouse of the President Elect of RC Peninsula Norte, and Cecilia Gabriel President of RC Samambaia are organizing more workshops. They have also gotten in touch with all our students in order to find out who is using the Solar Cooker on a daily basis.

All my gratitude for the Rotary Club of Jackson, of which I am a proud member, for all the support, financial as well as moral they gave me for this exploratory program. I also thank my fellow Rotarians in Brazil who helped us to spread the available money, indicating where to buy cheaper material and did not hesitate to become our partners in order to continue the good work. Also my heartfelt thank to our dear friends who provided us with lodging, food and encouragement.

And last, but not least, my husband Michael without whom I never could have done this. He was of great help, he is an excellent teacher and knew how to communicate with the students without speaking their language! He even designed an alternative model of Rocket Stove, entirely made of scrap material, easely available in Brazil. He is not a Rotarian, but certainly knows the meaning of “Service Above Self”

Irene Perbal

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Home Soon Tue, 30 Sep 2008 22:08:13 +0000 Dear friends, all is well, we postponed our return for 2 weeks, just in order to finish all the loose ends, which are partnerships with local Rotary Clubs. This involves a lot of meetings, paperwork and organization.By now the rains are starting , we still have one workshop programmed, but it will be the last one. Instead of the initially programmed 4 hands-on workshops we managed to have 11 of them.

Today we are going to make a DVD, a step by step visual instruction, which will enable our monitors to teach in a more effective way.

We have a team of 14 monitors, amongst them 8 rotarians.

Our home coming is forseen for October 14th. We leave Brasília the 13th and will, once more, skip our projected stop of a couple of days in Rio de Janeiro. After all this is not a vacation but a hard working trip!

I have to admit that we are happy at the perspective of being home in our own habitat! Hopefully we can rest a little after our return.

We have over a thousand pictures and had no time to edit them for sending by email. Maybe we can start on the plane going home?

Big hug for everybody, looking forward to see you all and the nice Martini gatherings!


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