Nice Article on Star Tribune About St. Paul Nonprofit CTI

We were happy to see the recent article on the Star Tribune about the St. Paul-based nonprofit Compatible Technology International (CTI). You can read the article here.

CTI is right down the street from Mano a Mano, and we actually bought a few of the grinders ourselves a few years ago to test out at our Center for Ecological Agriculture.

Using CTI Grinders to Make Peanut Butter for Flood Relief in 2014

Below is a slightly modified post about the grinders we purchased from CTI (here is the original post from February 2014):

In late 2013, Twin Cities-area resident Darrold traveled to Bolivia with Mano a Mano co-founder Segundo Velasquez. During his trip he showed Mano a Mano staffmembers Blanca and Camila  how to use the grinder that he took with him as a gift for the Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA). Staff experimented with it. During one of the strategy meetings for our flood response, a physician who was hired by our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia to spend a month in Beni mentioned that peanut butter would be the perfect food item to send, but she and others dismissed the possibility because of the expense. Camila and Blanca looked at each other but didn’t say anything at that point.

Instead, they returned to the CEA and experimented with using the grinder to make peanut butter. They even figured out that by adding more peanuts near the end of the process, they could make chunky peanut butter. (Blanca is a big fan of chunky peanut butter which is simply not available in Bolivia; Mano a Mano travelers often hand-carry peanut butter and other hard-to-find foot items on trips to Bolivia for Mano a Mano staff.) She bought small tubs, made labels for “Mano a Mano Peanut Butter”, filled the containers and plans to fill as many as possible to take to Mano a Mano Aviation for the food packages.

Mano a Mano agronomist Camila with our first batch of peanut butter! Taken March 3rd, 2014.

Mano a Mano agronomist Camila with our first batch of peanut butter! Taken March 3rd, 2014.

Tony, one of the Mano a Mano Aviation pilots, purchased containers for his family and friends. Segundo ordered 50 pounds to give as gifts for his next trip to Bolivia (instead of buying in the US and carrying it all the way to Bolivia). And thus a new initiative, a small business is born. Blanca told us that grinding enough for only a few tubs took hours, so Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo personnel modified the grinder for connection to a small motor. Their plan was to make as many tubs of peanut butter as possible to send with the physicians that Mano a Mano Bolivia dispatched and with Mano a Mano Aviation as they transport food packages into the Beni. Mano a Mano is covering the costs they have incurred for the motor and the purchase of peanuts and other supplies from our flood recovery fund.