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A Rocket Stove Development Workshop, Aprovecho Research Center, Cottage Grove, Oregon, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"

A work made of chromogenic print.

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  • A work made of chromogenic print.


August 2004


Joel Sternfeld
American, born 1944

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Photography and Media


Joel Sternfeld


A Rocket Stove Development Workshop, Aprovecho Research Center, Cottage Grove, Oregon, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 2004


Chromogenic print


No markings recto or verso After a major earthquake in Guatemala in 1976, a group of Americans living there decided to band together and make tools that might be useful to the people whose lives had been devastated. Perceiving the necessity of such tools for inhabitants of other developing nations, they traveled to more than sixty countries, teaching local peoples about low-tech sustainable methodologies such as fuel-efficient woodstoves, rainwater cisterns, solar ovens and windmills. In 1981, the travelers bought some land in the foothills of the Cascade Range in western Oregon and formed a community and a research center. Apro vecho is a Spanish phrase meaning “I make best use of.” The United Nations estimates that two billion people a day still cook with open fires and that 1.6 million die each year from the long-term consequences of breathing wood smoke. The Rocket Stove, a cheap, easy-to-build, smoke-free stove, was developed by Dr. Larry Winiarski, Dean Still and the team of Aprovecho researchers known as the Advanced Studies in Appropriate Technology group. Because Rocket Stoves are about one-third more efficient than open fires they reduce the consumption of increasingly scarce firewood. Knowing that people often keep open ground fires burning after the evening’s cooking has been completed so that children may do their schoolwork, the researchers are working on a Rocket Stove that can provide illumination for reading. The World Food Program of the United Nations has commissioned Aprovecho to design Rocket Stoves fashioned from the very tin cans in which food aid is delivered. This simple stove project will help thousands of the world’s poorest people build free stoves to cook relief shipment staples such as rice and lentils. From the portfolio, Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, 1982–2005


Image: 26.5 × 33.2 cm (10 7/16 × 13 1/8 in.); Paper: 27.9 × 35.5 cm (11 × 14 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall

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