Appropriate Technology

Our rocket stove, pictured above, was mentioned on BoingBoing last week and we thought we’d use the occasion for a brief roundup of similar “appropriate” technology concepts. The term appropriate technology evolved out of political economist E. F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful and is easier to show rather than describe. While not always low-tech, appropriate tech concepts feature elegantly simple (but not simplistic) design, efficient use of energy and are usually aimed at poor countries. What Homegrown Evolution would like to prove is that these technologies have a place in developed western countries as well. Here’s three of our favorite appropriate tech ideas and websites:

1. Rocket Stoves: our brick rocket stove and a link to a video on how to make a simple metal version.

2. The glorious Solar Cooking Archive which has links to dozens of simple solar cooker plans that you can build yourself. We built our cardboard and aluminum foil Pavarti cooker with plans from the solar cooking archive.

3. AfriGadget. The subtitle of this blog says it all, “solving everyday problems with African ingenuity.”

Leave a comment


  1. It would be fantastic if you could give out a few recipes you use with the solar cooker. I just built the same type, a parabolic cooker. But most of the books for solar cooking seem to focus on box cookers. So I’d love to hear from others using parabolic solar cookers. What sorts of dishes have turned out well for you?

  2. Hi Kate,

    So far we mainly just use it for rice – very easy – no need to worry about burning. But it’s funny you ask this since I was just at the library looking at all the solar cookbooks. I didn’t find any that I really liked that well and was thinking about trying to adapt some Italian dishes to the panel cooker. Look for a post towards the end of the summer.

  3. Cool stove ! and thanks for the AfriGadget link. I read Small is Beautiful years ago and have always felt that it would be “appropriate” (sorry) to apply Schumacher’s ideas here in the U.S.A as well as abroad.

  4. I love your rocket stove. I have been planning on building one but wanted something a little more sturdy like yours. Thanks for the picture and the idea. I think this would be great for canning outside.


  5. Your stove is what I have been visualizing but I would like to build on a concrete base inside my old home that hasn’t been lived in for years and am repairing it so I can live in it off the grid. I want to have this type with two cooking grids and an oven but also to have it designed to help heat the house for winter and have another outside for summer.

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