Full Belly Feast
By Kaitlin Franklin
Give a man peanut and you feed him for a day; teach a man to grow them and you feed him for a lifetime. If you teach a man how to manufacture cheap technology to shell peanuts more efficiently, you feed the whole community.
This is the goal of Jock Brandis and the rest of the crew at the Full Belly Project with the Universal Nut Sheller, a hand-operated machine which helps shell peanuts and other nuts more effectively, thus increasing productivity. Their mission statement reinforces this goal by explaining that “Equipment, such as the Universal Nut Sheller and the Solar Water Pump, are designed so they can be locally manufactured, operated, and repaired, using readily available materials and labor. The overarching goal of Full Belly is to create self-efficacy in developing economies.” The Full Belly Project puts the tools in the hands of the community and passes along any useful knowledge, leaving the rest to human ingenuity.
The non-profit has seen results from their efforts in Guatemala, Cambodia, Mali, and various other countries (including right next door in Rutherford County, North Carolina). Most recently, in Zambia, Full Belly has introduced an inexpensive and quick method of testing peanuts for a carcinogenic fungus called aflatoxin, which plagues much of the peanut crops in the area. Prior to this testing method, these communities have not been able to profit from their peanut crops. Helping communities solve problems like this in a sustainable, cost-effective way is what the Full Belly Project is all about.
On February 27, the Full Belly project will host their 14th annual Full Belly Feast Fundraiser. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to further equipment production, promote research into solutions for problems like aflatoxin in Zambia, as well as to fund Full Belly’s other ongoing projects such as making desks from recycled plastic shopping bags and recycling soap from scraps discarded from hotels and resorts. The fundraiser will be held from 6 to 10pm at the Coastline Convention Center. Tickets are $50 and can be found online at their website.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Ernst. F. Shumacher from his book Small is Beautiful.