Community Development and Applied Economics
The Ecological Sugar Project has been vibrant for over seven years, connecting UVM students with sugar cane producers and cooperatives. The main goals have been to reduce environmental degradation and to increase income for small scale producers through design and transfer of appropriate technologies and market development. By creating a more efficient evaporating system, the need/want to burn tires (a health hazard) and wood (a cause of deforestation) is reduced or destroyed.
Students have been involved in measuring the efficiency of sugar cane juice evaporators, researching value-added products, and analysis of organic sugar products for domestic and international markets.
Participants of Microfinance and Oven Construction Workshop led by Prof. Dan Baker and CAPROCATAL cooperative president Goldon Aguilar in San Antonio, 2008
Potential future aspects of this project include air quality measuring and marketing, efficient oven design, and the development of microfinance groups to improve small-scale cane farmers' access to credit. You can read more about this project in an article from UVM's newspaper The View: Sugar Technology Goes South.