With Only 1 Litre Water A Week, Mini Solar Tent Preserves 200+ Kgs Of Fruits & Veggies For 10 Days

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“What water is to a tree, education is to poverty” – reads the motto for Baraa Primary School, located in the outskirts of Arusha, Tanzania. The school educates children from one of the most impoverished communities in the area. A survey by a medical team revealed that a major percentage of the students were undernourished, lacking vital nutrients and vitamins. The school authority came up with a unique solution – planting an organic vegetable garden on the school grounds, maintained by the students themselves. However, the problem prevailed in storing the fresh produce of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. In an area where electricity is a luxury, keeping a refrigerator was out of the question. Inevitably, food was being wasted, even with persistent malnutrition.

No one has ever become poor by giving
-Anne Frank

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The solution came in 2015 through Wakati – a solar-powered innovation that performs effectively stores fresh produce for up to 10 days with zero power consumption. Designed by Arne Pauwels from Belgium, Wakati does not deploy any cooling process, rather it keeps the fruits and vegetables hydrated, powered by a compact 10 Watt solar panel.

The first-of-its-kind product, which seeks to solve food spoilage and wastage in countries plagued by the food crisis, has drawn inspiration from primitive sustainable coolers, where water played a major role in preserving the harvest for years, even centuries, reported Fast Company.

How Wakati works

Remember the movie The Martian? The science-fiction showed stranded astronaut Mark Watney growing potatoes on a planet hostile to life, using some ingenious techniques. In reality, the preservation mechanism in a Wakati device works in a similar manner, where a humid microclimate is artificially simulated inside a small tent-like structure.

“I would try to preserve fruit and vegetables in a hot, extremely humid microclimate,” Wakati founder Arne Pauwels shared with Fast Company about how he conceptualised the invention. After a few rounds of experimentation, Pauwels came up with a medium-sized tent with a solar-powered evaporator installed inside it. The interior humidity from the evaporator keeps the produce fresh alongside saving water, using only one litre of water in a week. In addition, the system is antifungal and self-sterilising, negating the need for any manual intervention. One Wakati unit can preserve up to 200 kg of fruits and vegetables.

The working principle of Wakati, as described in their website, works in three distinct ways.

“1) Increasing the humidity to keep cell structure intact

2) Ozone sterilisation to reduce mould growth

3) Oxidising storage”

Several Wakati units have already been installed in rural interiors of developing nations like Tanzania, Haiti, Uganda and Afghanistan, which are enabling farmers to ensure a longer shelf life of their harvest of toil.

Efforts For Good take

Agriculture undoubtedly occupies predominance in a country like India, with tremendous population pressure. However, the absence of proper storage facilities leads to wastage of a whopping $14 billion worth of food every year, while 194 million Indians go to bed hungry, states a 2018 Reuters report. A system like Wakati can resolve farmers’ woes to a large extent, especially for those who travel for days to export their harvest from one town to another.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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