Solar Cooking
Last edited: 15 June 2021      
ULOG cooker 002.jpg

Kathy Dahl-Bredine and her husband, Phil Dahl-Bredine continue to live and work in the indigenous mountain area north of Oaxaca City, Mexico with Mixtec indigenous communities. Formerly with Maryknoll Lay Missioners, they are a part of a small non-profit organization, Instituto Paz en las Americas. For the past 15 years they have collaborated with CEDICAM, a local organization of small farm families, as well as other local groups. Ms. Dahl-Bredine works mostly to empower families in techniques of sustainable, organic farming practices, agro-ecology, and reforestation. She focuses on working with children, youth, and families on appropriate technologies, including solar cooking.

Kathy Dahl-Bredine is also the inventor of the Windshield Shade Solar Cooker, which is probably the simplest solar cooker yet devised.

She reports being a user and teacher of solar cookers since 2001 - teaching more than 150 people and distributing over 100 cookers, empowering at least 500 people in Mexico.


Cookers prepare food at the April 2016 workshop.

  • April 2016: Kathy reports: "We were finally able to do that solar workshop we had planned for last November. It was a phenomenal success. We had demonstrations of six different models of cookers. We're going to meet again to build cookers, which will include different ones of those models. Everyone wants them and wants to invite more people." Read more in the March-April 2016 newsletter.
  • November 2015: Just published Milpa! from Seed to Salsa - Ancient Ingredients for a Sustainable Future a bilingual book, complete with gorgeous photos and recipes, on the ancient - and still current - system of companion planting, a millennial tradition that produces a sustainable and healthy system of eating and can offer hope for the future of the planet. The Dahl-Bredines have been on book tours, encouraging discussions with small groups across much of the USA. In January they will be taking it to the West Coast, USA. There is more information on this wiki's Book Page and Facebook
  • March 2006: Kathy Dahl-Bredine reports that solar cooking is taking hold in the state of Oaxaca. She gave nine workshops in her first year and helped about 150 people learn to make and use solar cookers. In the workshops, new solar cooking students are given homework — to teach others how to make and use a CooKit-style solar panel cooker. Ms. Dahl-Bredine reports that many of her students have done their homework and taught others. She has also taught solar cooking skills to Indian development promoters who are spreading the idea to many other families. She writes, “It sounds like a great many of the cookers are getting used. … One woman I work with said, ‘Now I know that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ve turned the beans off when I leave the house, because if they are in the solar cooker, I know they are fine.’ … One woman I know here in Oaxaca City told me about a certain dish she makes, a particular chicken enchilada, that her 10-year-old son never especially liked, but the first time she made it in her solar cooker … her son said, ‘Wow, this is delicious. What makes it so different?’” Ms. Dahl-Bredine reports that the major motivation for using the solar cookers is that people have little income, and benefit from reduced fuel costs. The CooKit-type solar cooker is practical because it is inexpensive and can be made by the families themselves. She emphasizes follow-up visits with new learners, because people don’t always get everything they need to know from one workshop. When people are learning, she says, “you want all the conditions to be right to succeed at first.” After people have some experience, they can try more challenging cooking problems. She believes that experienced solar cooks can use their solar cookers most days even during Oaxaca’s rainy season, by starting early in the day and planning carefully.

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Apartado Postal 1332
68000 Oaxaca * OAX

Tel: 52-951-133-0109
Office: 951-133-2014