At a recent meeting in the Bribri community of Amubri, Costa Rica, a woman told one of our Estufa Finca team members that because of deforestation, children are now growing up in the Talamanca Valley without ever having seen a monkey. She then went on to tell us how she plans to use our Estufa Finca Cook-stoves and biochar to address that problem.

Since 2011, SeaChar has been working with indigenous Bribri, farming communities in the Talamanca Canton of S.E. Costa Rica to combat deforestation and unhealthy cooking practices by offering fuel-efficient, clean-burning cook-stoves to households at risk from the deadly effects of smoky, inefficient cooking fires. Our innovative stoves create high-quality agricultural charcoal (biochar) as a byproduct of the cooking process. This carbon negative method of building and sustaining healthy, productive soil has a 7000-year old history in the Americas. Improving the productivity of tropical soils helps to prevent the clearing of more forest. High quality charcoal is a valued commodity and the surplus produced by a cook’s stove can earn a family much needed extra income. This activity will soon form the basis of a cooperative community owned business.

Biochar-producing stoves can save lives and trees. In the communities where we work, most families survive on less than $3 a day. Through our time spent in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that deforestation, poor agricultural productivity, poverty and childhood mortality are interconnected issues. SeaChar seeks to combat these socio-economic problems by teaching communities how to build, cook on and sell easy-to-use stoves. The Estufa Finca (Farm Stove) has been laboratory tested and consistently reduces Carbon Monoxide emissions by 83% and Particulate Matter emissions by 91%, when compared to open fire cooking. The stove also uses approximately 40% less fuel than a traditional stove and, is able to use renewable inputs such as bamboo or coconut shell.

Why we picked this campaign?

1. The organization and technology have a proven track record of effectiveness.

2. The project emphasizes training and community development, promoting long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

3. The Estufa Finca (Farm Stove) design creates high-quality biochar as a byproduct of the cooking process. This valuable charcoal is being sold to generate income for stove users.


The Impact

SeaChar’s innovative stove can reduce carbon monoxide poisoning, drastically reduce particulate matter that poisons lungs and skies alike, reduce deforestation, and provide farmers with a valuable soil amendment (biochar). Most importantly, your support will help create a truly sustainable socio-economic model that will prosper independent of grants and donations.