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Food waste can be converted to usable energy through the process of anaerobic digestion. This oxygen-free process uses microorganisms to break down food waste, and yields biogas that can be used as a cooking fuel. In addition, the biosolids from the digester can be utilized as fertilizer for agricultural purposes. The idea was presented to the community of Sittee River Village in Stann Creek Belize, by first conducting a survey to understand the community's needs and values. Once their needs were understood, a waste audit was performed and a small prototype was built to explain the concept of anaerobic  digestion. Support was gained and the team worked together with the community to personalize the design. A small scale trial version of the digester was built in summer 2017. The project is currently in the trial phase to troubleshoot any design problems,  give the community a hands on example of how the project can benefit them on a larger scale, and to increase community buy-in.The team is continuing to engage in conversations about expanding the project to fit community's goals. The community has been empowered to take ownership of this project and their capabilities for future innovations.


December 2017, BioGals traveled to Sittee River Village assessing villagers' perception of Black women, from the US, conducting research in their community and likelihood of adopting biodigester as way of managing organic waste. 

Over 50 villagers were assessed and some of the participants wore fNIRS, neuroimaging used to measure brain activity. 

This video was created by Dr. Maya Trotz, associate professor at University of South Florida. 


Hobbs, Shakira, Evvan Victoria Morton, Nicole Barclay, and Amy Landis. 2018. "Sustainability Approach: Food Waste-to-Energy Solutions for Small Rural Developing Communities." The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability: Annual Review 13 (1): 21-37.

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