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Iowa foodtech startup KinoSol to send 1,000 food dehydrators to Africa

KinoSol, the developer of small-scale solar powered dehydrators for fruits, vegetables and grains, is currently raising funds to send 1,000 food dehydrators to eastern Africa.

KinoSol was founded in 2014 by Iowa State University students and alums. They came up with the concept for KinoSol while participating in the Thought for Food Challenge, which sought to address how to feed the world as the population increases.

The foodtech startup began delivering its first product, the Orenda, to regions worldwide in January 2017.

The Orenda is a solar-powered food dehydrator with a storage component, designed to help families in developing regions preserve food and nutrients. One Orenda can add up to an additional 36,000 calories a year and 950 kilograms of food saved from being wasted.

The dehydrator also empowers families with an income-generating tool, increasing family income by approximately 15 percent annually.

KinoSol’s Rebecca Lyons said that since the first batch of Orendas were manufactured, the company has made several changes to their processes that are improving their reach and impact on people’s lives.

As a result, KinoSol is now able to manufacture larger batches of the dehydrators within the state of Iowa using injection molding, and they’ve moved from a retailer to a wholesaler.

KinoSol will sell the dehydrators at wholesale to distributors who can then use their broader international reach and possible microfinancing programs to get the units to farmers and farm families.

“Previously, our sales model was contacting churches and aids organizations, NGOs, places like that, that could implement [the Orendas] in the countries where they were doing development work,” said Lyons. “Now that we’re scaling up for more large-scale manufacturing, we’re looking at partnering with distributors in countries, starting off with a focus in Eastern Africa and then moving all over the world.”

From June 1 through August 31, KinoSol is asking individuals to make donations for as little as $13 that will sponsor a solar food dehydrator for a family, and also enter the donor to win a trip to Tanzania with the KinoSol team to participate in community training, cultural immersion, and amazing travel expeditions.

As of week 6 of the campaign, KinoSol says that nearly 1,000 lives have been impacted so far, with a possible 6,000 total by the end of the campaign.

“The 1,000 units makes it financially feasible to do this order and ship it to Africa to be impacting lives there. This will allow so many more people to have access to this technology, allow them to have better access to food security and in turn, equip them with an income-generating tool,” said Lyons. “I definitely encourage people to get involved by donating.”

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Christine Burright McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News

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