On Tuesday, 4/20/2021, Forest Resener, Operations Director for Stove Team International, spoke to the members of the Magnolia Rotary Club about what Stove Team International does by means of an interactive video. Pictured above is Forest Resner.

Forest Resener is a musician, environmentalist, and wilderness enthusiast. As the Operations Director for StoveTeam International, Forest is excited to raise awareness for the issue of open-fire cooking, while continuing to create innovative solutions that maximize the efficiency, reach, and scalability of StoveTeam’s programs.
Forest spoke to the dangers of an open fire inside of very small homes without any smoke ventilation. Since mostly women do the cooking in the South American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua they and their small children are the people most affected by daily smoke inhalation from open fire cook stoves within their small homes. Forest also spoke to the danger to their health from cutting and hauling wood to burn in their stoves each day as well as the impact to the environment because of all the wood burning smoke of over 4 billion people in the world who rely on wood stoves for cooking.
Forest then spoke about Nancy Hughes, a Rotarian who first decided to do something about the indoor wood burning problem by raising funds and helping to create a unique wood burning stove called the Ecocina cook stove.. A photo of Nancy Hughes can be seen below:
The Ecocina cook stove was invented by Stove Team’s founder Nancy Hughes along with a team of engineers and local women in El Salvador in 2007. This small but powerful stove uses a rocket elbow design inside the combustion chamber to produce a highly efficient flame, emitting about 14% as much smoke as an open fire while using half as much wood, and eliminating the danger of burns. A diagram of the stove can be seen below:
Initially Nancy's team were proud to build and distribute 120 of these stoves to local residents in El Salvador. However, they soon realized that around 4 billion people around the world use open cooking stoves so they came up with a plan to have the Econina stoves:
  • Built by local people in stove-building projects that serve their own regions, while creating jobs in areas of Latin America that need it most. 

  • Built using locally sourced materials, stimulating local economies. 

  • Perfect for cooking all of the traditional foods that people in Latin America rely on, while using a method that is close enough to their traditional open-fire methods that it is easily adopted, understood, and enjoyed by families.

  • Portable enough to reach extremely remote and isolated regions.

  • Currently being produced in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

  • Inexpensive enough to provide a solution for the most impoverished regions, at around $50 each.

The Stove Team International group later designed the Justa Cook Stove (pronounced “hoo-stuh”), named after Doña Justa Nuñez who helped design the stove!  Each Justa cookstove is built in-place inside the home by local stove technicians trained by StoveTeam. Each stove benefits an average family of nearly 8 people and provides meaningful employment, while contributing toward a solution to climate change and deforestation.

The Justa cookstove reduces smoke inside the home to nearly zero, uses half as much wood as an open fire, and saves up to 15 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over its lifespan, equal to the total yearly output of the average American. Each family is directly involved in building their stove, leading to greater community adoption and project sustainability. A photo of the Justa stove (with stovepipe) can be seen below:

Forest spoke to the growth in the use of these stoves in the 4 South American countries and to the local people who now own and operate stove manufacturing companies that provide for local good paying jobs in these impoverished areas. To date, more than 78,000 stoves have been distributed in these 4 countries. This has not only improved the lives of more than half a million people, but has also saved nearly one million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere! With 30 direct and indirect employees in four countries, Stove Team International is helping to create meaningful employment in the areas of Latin America that need it most.

Stove Team International and its members have received many awards and recognition for the good they have done in these 4 countries. However, they now want to expand the idea to all parts of the world where people are currently living with this problem. Since over 4 billion people in the world use open cook stoves, the need is still great. Forest told everyone they can learn more by going to www.stoveteam.org to learn more and donate to this great cause. Forest than answered any one of 8 questions that could be selected by the person running the interactive video based on input from the audience.