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Hastings Man Helps Haitians Prepare (Environmentally) Healthy Meals

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – A Hastings man wants to help the people of Haiti and that country's environment by providing environmentally friendly stoves.

David Stillman, a Hastings resident and retired United Nations staff member, said Haitians have few choices when it comes to food preparation. With a lack of available heating methods, burning wood from the country’s already decimated forests is the only way to cook food, he said. He, along with the Public-Private Alliance Foundation, has developed a program to establish the new clean stoves and is in the running to win a $5,000 grant to help fund the project.

The stoves run on ethanol and agricultural waste briquettes, which will not only improve cooking methods, but also benefit local economies, he said.

“In both cases it’s a small business opportunity for Haitians,” said Stillman, executive director of the organization. “They’re not relying on imported kerosene or propane.”

Stillman is one of 15 people competing for five $5,000 grants from the Marigold Ideas For Good contest, inspired by the 2011 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel . Each week, 15 people get the chance to compete for the most votes to win the grant, Stillman said.

The stoves provided by Stillman would eliminate the need to use wood for cooking. Stillman said using wood for cooking has helped to reduce Haiti’s forest covering from 60 percent in the 1920s to less than two percent today.

“The President flew over Haiti and said ‘I can see the skeleton of my country because the land is so deforested,’” Stillman said. “Now he’s trying to put some meat back on the skeleton.”

To vote for Stillman’s project, visit the Marigold Ideas For Good website and click on his name. Voting closes 5 p.m. Friday and supporters can vote once every 24 hours. To learn more about the organization behind this project visit Public-Private Alliance Foundation’s website .

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